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Foster Farms Sets up Anti-Plumping Web Site

by 5m Editor
24 June 2009, at 8:28a.m.

US - As concern about chicken 'plumping' spreads among experts and consumers, Foster Farms has set up a web site to inform about and campaign against the use of the '100 per cent natural' label on these products.

'Plumping' – or injecting fresh chicken with useless saltwater that costs shoppers their money and health – is giving consumers and experts plenty to squawk about.

The issue is gaining steam with a Los Angeles Times article which quotes national experts including the American Heart Association and New York University's Marion Nestle decrying "hidden salt in chicken."

Consumers who have learned of this little known practice are turning to social media to express their dissatisfaction. As part of its 'Say No To Plumping' consumer awareness campaign, Foster Farms, the West's leading poultry producer, has launched a new online resource (http://www.saynotoplumping.com) for consumers who are concerned about saltwater-injected or 'plumped' fresh chicken and want to learn more. Foster Farms does not inject its fresh poultry products labelled '100% Natural'.

The new web site features two new feathery characters, Betsy and Martha, who discuss the health and cost implications of plumping, a practice long employed by some major national poultry brands. The site also includes plumping facts and figures, how to detect a plumper, links to health resources and an interactive Plumpinator calculator to help site visitors calculate how much money they waste on saltwater from plumped chicken each year. The web site was designed by San Francisco-based advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Plumping results in increased weight, price and sodium content of fresh chicken. Research has shown that 63 per cent of West Coast shoppers had no idea that some brands of fresh chicken – even those that carry the 'natural' label – contain up to 15 per cent added saltwater by weight, or up to 440 mg of sodium per serving. Once they learned of this practice, 70 per cent of consumers felt deceived and 37 per cent felt angry. Furthermore, 85.4 per cent of these consumers said they would now read nutrition labels and avoid saltwater-injected chicken, and 71 per cent felt compelled to tell a friend.

"Consumers are paying more attention to the foods they consume and plumping has become a major concern because it is costing them money and can affect their health," said Ira Brill, Foster Farms' Director of Marketing and Advertising. "We created the new web site in response to questions we received from many consumers. The site provides tips on avoiding plumped chicken, health facts, and helps consumers alert their own networks to news about the issue," he said.

The plumping issue is generating widespread consumer buzz. By mid-June, the campaign had already generated over 115,000 new conversations on blogs, Twitter and consumer advocate sites and reached several hundred thousand consumers directly via Foster Farms' Say No to Plumping 'West Coast tour', featuring the company's famed Foster Imposter advertising characters. The plumped, junk-food loving duo participated in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers footrace and the Los Angeles Marathon where fans met the Imposters in person, posed for photographs and joined the Say No To Plumping cause.

The Imposters will make stops at several major West Coast events throughout the summer.

Further Reading

- You can go directly to the 'Say no to plumping' web site by clicking here.