Bee Lor and Mary Ann’s Specialty Foods took home the honors for having the best new Iowa pork product in 2002 in the of foodservice and retail product categories. The Iowa Pork Producers Association sponsored the New Product Awards, developed in 2001 to aid in further developing and promoting innovative pork products.
Bee Lor, the retail division winner, is a processor based out of Brunsville, Iowa. Bee Lor specializes in processing and marketing natural pork that is raised by producers in northwest Iowa. According to the Bee Lor label, the products are made of “100 percent pure and natural pork, raised without any antibiotics, growth promotants, vaccines, injections or vermifuges.”
Bee Lor’s winning product, a no-nitrate-added mini ham, won the award for its innovation in processing a ham with all the familiar characteristics, including taste, texture and color.
The foodservice division winner was Mary Ann’s Specialty Foods, which began more than 35 years ago in a small locker in Klemme, Iowa. In 1992, due to growing demand, the company moved to a 60,000-square-foot plant in Webster City, Iowa, and began processing in the spring of 1993. With the capacity to produce more than 500,000 pounds of product a week, Mary Ann’s has become a company with a national customer base reaching from California to New York.
Mary Ann’s winning New Product is called Speck Tirolese. It uses an old German way of making a dried ham product similar to prosciutto. Speck Tirolese is marketed to high-end, mail-order catalogs and restaurants.
Products entered in IPPA’s New Product Award competition are judged on taste, innovation, availability, packaging, branding and its ability to meet end-users’ needs.