By Rebekah Kurisu
#9 Economic Consumption of Applegate Farms Chicken Nugget Naturals
In 2011, the CEO of Applegate Farms, Stephen McDonnell stated in an interview, “Most of our business is in places like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and individual niche markets, not really at Krogers or Safeway. I think that’s ultimately where we will expand. There and in food service—healthy school lunches, hospitals, etc” (Connor, 2011). Today in 2014, this expansion seems to become a reality, as Point Loma Nazarene University consumes Applegate’s organic meat products purchased by Sodexo. The demand for organic, sustainable, and gluten-free products is increasing, causing Applegate’s revenues to grow to almost $200 million in 2012 (Fenn, 2012). Applegate’s advertisements focus on these organic qualities that set its products apart from other companies in the meat industry. It promotes a community of people who “don’t eat bad meat” and tries to unite friends and families to support better health of one another by eating organic meat. This consumer demand is stimulated by concerns about mad-cow disease, E. coli, and antibiotics. Applegate supports many organizations that are working to create awareness about the potential harm to meat eaters from consuming animals treated with antibiotics. Applegate has strict standards in place to prevent health problems for the consumers of their products.
The health of Applegate’s customers is a high priority, but a customer testimony reveals some interesting evidence that may disprove how healthy or natural these nuggets are. Melanie Warner, the author of the book, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal, writes about a surprising experiment with Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets.
I discovered that the Applegate nuggets, which I’d placed in a Ziploc bag left slightly open, no longer looked like chicken. Half of the contents of the bag had essentially liquefied, with the outlines of the individual chicken pieces no longer visible… a few days later… the nuggets had completed their dissolution, and now all I had was a runny, brown mess.
Communication with Chris Ely, one of the founder’s of Applegate, claimed that the lack of additives and nitrates is what did not bind the meat together. He was as surprised as Warner about this experiment. In an article about the meat industry, Chris Ely has stated, “the entire meat business is built on trust” (Lev, 2009). The level of transparency Applegate Farms has proven to have about its products, show that consumers are not being fooled by the high prices in hopes of high quality, but the company is actually striving for this quality. Sometimes expectations are not completely met, but Applegate continues to try to best serve its customers and community. Applegate has invested and commercially benefited from the documentary, Lunch Line, about the National School Lunch Program. Applegate’s support of changing the way children eat in schools is no doubt genuine, but its marketability as healthy products definitely has economic gains. Hopefully the economic cost to consumers of buying these higher priced products benefits them through their improved health and social and environmental consciousness. Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets may dissolve in a Ziploc bag left open for a couple weeks, but does seem to have health benefits if eaten in a timely matter and Sodexo should try to provide other products with similar health benefits to consumers.
Applegate. (2014). Changing the Meat We Eat: Eaters.Retrieved from http://www.applegate.com/mission.
Applegate. (2014). The Applegate Standard. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnXOIWJdkAs
Applegate. (2014). Weinervention: Friends don’t let friends eat bad meat. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwHqVkJQyrM
Connor L. L. (2011, February 1). Zen Management Makes Millions. NY Report. Retrieved from http://www.nyreport.com/cover_stories/articles/78760/zen_management_makes_millions
Fenn, D. (2012). Stephen McDonnell. Inc, 34(9), 86-88.
Lev, Katy Rank. (2009). Meet and Greet. Mother Nature Network.
Peronne M. (2012). Does giving antibiotics to animals hurt humans? USA Today.
Uji Films LLC (2014). Lunch Line. Retrieved from http://www.lunchlinefilm.com
Warner, Melanie. (2013). Melanie Warner. Retrieved from http://www.melanierwarner.com
Warner, Melanie (2013). Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal. New York, NY: Scribner.