Tyson Eliminates Antibiotics, Backs Change with $70M Ad Campaign

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Tyson Eliminates Antibiotics, Backs Change with $70M Ad Campaign

SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Foods here said yesterday it will no longer use antibiotics to raise chicken that is sold fresh in supermarkets, and will launch a $70 million advertising campaign to tout the shift.

The company said it took the action in response to broad consumer demand.

"While we have great confidence in the quality of our traditional chicken, we're also committed to providing mainstream consumers with the kind of products they want," said Richard L. Bond, Tyson's president and c.e.o., who cited proprietary research that found 91 percent of consumers concurring that "it's important to have fresh chicken produced and labeled 'raised without antibiotics.'"

Tyson, which began selling 100 percent All Natural, Raised Without Antibiotics chicken this week, is distributing the products nationwide in newly-designed packaging highlighting that the chicken is raised without antibiotics and contains no artificial ingredients. Several of the skinless breast meat products also meet the heart-healthy food criteria of the American Heart Association.

Company officials said they expect to convert Tyson Deli Rotisserie and Marinated Raw Breaded eight-piece items to Raised Without Antibiotics starting in early July and Tyson retail individually quick frozen chicken by late-August.

"We are the first major poultry company to offer fresh chicken raised without antibiotics on a large scale basis and at an affordable price for mainstream consumers," said Dave Hogberg, s.v.p./fresh meal solutions for Tyson. "Because of the size and scale of our operations, we're able to convert our entire branded business and assure supply to our customers."

Although chicken Raised Without Antibiotics will cost more, company officials said its market research shows consumers are willing to pay for such products, which Tyson says will be priced "substantially less than the premium currently charged by most competing niche brands."

Tyson will promote its Raised Without Antibiotics chicken as part of its new $70 million marketing campaign dubbed, "Thank You," which will convey how the company's products help make Mom a hero at mealtime. The marketing plan includes TV and radio advertising, plus strong consumer promotions to drive new and repeat purchases.