Smithfield Foods and celebrity cook, restaurateur, author and TV personality Paula Deen are forming an exclusive partnership aimed at promoting meals that encourage families to spend more time eating together.  

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 Web casts 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 says 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, says, “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.”

Schloss cites national research that shows 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,” says Deen. “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 points 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.”

Deen and her sons Jamie and Bobby own and operate The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, Ga., and she and her brother run 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.

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 news release