NEW YORK (September 19, 2006)—Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced today that celebrity cook, restaurateur, author and TV personality Paula Deen has selected the company in an exclusive partnership aimed at promoting meals that encourage families to spend more time eating together.
The partnership between Deen and Smithfield Foods is part of a growing national effort to promote the many benefits of having families share meals together several times a week.
To achieve the partnership's goal, Deen will be involved in a number of activities including community outreach efforts, personal appearances, Web-based recipe and meal preparation tips and print and broadcast communications including Webcasts and new product development.
Deen's efforts will help meal preparers feel more confident in selecting cuts of meat for meals that take less time to prepare, are easy to make and are well-balanced for family members.
Deen said she chose Smithfield as her partner in this joint effort, "...because I've been using Smithfield products for years. This is a company I can trust."
In announcing the partnership, James D. Schloss, Smithfield's corporate vice president, sales and marketing, said, "Finding time to get families together for a meal can be difficult, but it's worth the effort because research studies have clearly demonstrated that children who eat regular meals with their families are more likely to do better in school and eat more nutritiously. Nourishing children's minds and bodies has long been a passion for Smithfield Foods, which makes this partnership's goal a natural fit," he added.
Schloss cited national research that showed teenagers who frequently eat meals with their families each week perform better academically and are much more likely to consume more key nutrients and fewer snack foods than their counterparts.
"A key part of rounding up family members for a meal is preparing wholesome and nutritious food that children and their parents want to eat," Deen said. "When you combine my years of experience in the kitchen with Smithfield's top-quality products, together we can whip up some meals that families can't wait to share."
Deen also pointed out, "In addition to strengthening family ties, cooking meals at home gives parents more control over quality and quantity of foods. You can better control portions and your kids are more likely to try new foods. Kids also can learn important life lessons and social skills through the quality one-on-one time presented by cooking and enjoying meals together. It certainly paid off for my boys!"
Deen and her sons Jamie and Bobby own and operate the highly popular The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, Ga., and she and her brother run the equally successful Uncle Bubba's Oyster House nearby. Known for her "down-home" personality and traditional Southern cooking, Deen has authored four cookbooks, publishes a lifestyle magazine called Cooking with Paula Deen and has her own TV show, Paula's Home Cooking, on the Food Network.
"Families are so busy today, and time to prepare meals is limited, so the trick is to keep it simple, but at the same time make meals interesting and nutritious," Deen said. "I'll be cooking meals that include wholesome and great tasting ingredients, but won't take a lot of time to prepare."
C. Larry Pope, Smithfield's chief executive officer, said, "We're thrilled to be teaming up with Paula because she is the epitome of great food, family and fun. What's more, she is a true American success story, starting out with just $200 and two teenage sons when she launched a catering service out of her home, eventually becoming a highly successful businesswoman with a huge and loyal audience."
Under the partnership agreement, Deen will initially promote various Smithfield-branded products. Smithfield will use its Web site and other promotional venues to market Deen's signature products, including her cookbooks, seasonings, BBQ sauces, aprons, T-shirts, gift certificates and cooking school.
Smithfield Foods is an international food company with operations throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Europe and Asia. In addition to Smithfield's more than 50 brands of high-quality pork, beef and turkey products, the company also offers more than 200 gourmet food products.
Smithfield Foods has delivered a 24 percent average annual compounded rate of return to investors since 1975. With sales of $11 billion, Smithfield is the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork and processed meats in the United States, as well as the largest producer of hogs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.