After making a bold decision to stand firm in the face of industry pressures, and to push back by launching a consumer education campaign focused on transparency, Sanderson Farms has been named Food Company of the Year by Food Dive. A leading source of industry news and analysis, the Food Dive Awards recognize top disruptors and innovators transforming the food industry and shaping the future.
Sanderson Farms received the honor for their ongoing initiative that takes a candid look at the industry, tackling topics ranging from antibiotic use to how products are marketed and labeled at the grocery store.
“At Sanderson Farms, we have made it our responsibility to shine a light on misleading marketing tactics and labeling,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., CEO and chairman of the board of Sanderson Farms. “By transparently addressing the issues, such as antibiotic use, we’ve been able to explain Sanderson Farms’ stance on these topics while earning the trust of our valued customers.”
Consumers have responded positively to the company’s transparent approach – the company has seen an increase in social media followers, video views, and post shares. The company is also seeing positive results in the form of increased sales numbers and stock prices. Sanderson Farms’ net sales for fiscal 2017 were $3.342 billion, compared with $2.816 billion for fiscal 2016. Stock prices have significantly increased from $96.32 in January 2017 to $145.76 in mid-December 2017.
The company plans to continue its truth-telling mission with the goal of giving consumers a more nuanced look at all aspects of poultry production – especially by furthering its efforts to familiarize the public to the family farmers who grow chickens for the company.
“With the expansion of our consumer education campaign and increased production at our newest processing plant in St. Pauls, North Carolina, Sanderson Farms is positioned for significant growth in the new year,” said Mike Cockrell, CFO and treasurer of Sanderson Farms. “We expect to produce roughly 4.5 percent more pounds of chicken in 2018.”