Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Enid-Based Advance Food Co. Introduces Its Chicken Fingers Alternative, Cheeseburger Fries

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Enid-Based Advance Food Co. Introduces Its Chicken Fingers Alternative, Cheeseburger Fries

Article excerpt

The self-proclaimed "Country Fried Steak Experts" have introduced to the market a beefier alternative to chicken nuggets and fried mozzarella sticks.

Steak Fingers with Cheese, or Cheeseburger Fries, are the latest offering from Advance Food Co. of Enid. At about an ounce each, the fries consist of a breaded combination of beef and cheese. Jalepeno Cheeseburger Fries are also available, made with Monterey Jack cheese.

According to Rob McLaughlin, vice president of product management for Advance Food, the company was approached with the idea by representatives of the beef industry.

"We have a good relationship with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association," said McLaughlin. "They have what they call an R&D Ranch that develops new concepts, and they approached us about manufacturing and marketing the product."

"One of the best ways to increase demand for beef and veal is to develop exciting new products that exceed the expectations of today's consumer," reads the Web site for the NCBA's R&D Ranch. "The beef industry must adapt or lose sales and opportunities. This is where the New Product Development Team steps in - studying the changing marketplace to create new products that will drive demand for beef."

According to National Cattlemen's Beef Association, restaurants served more than 8 billion hamburgers last year, and demand for beef has increased by nearly 10 percent since 1998.

"We're best known for our country fried steaks," said Tim Jones, regional salesman for Advance Foods, noting that the Steak Fingers are much the same product in all but size.

"As far as appetizers, people are tired of chicken fingers and cheese sticks," Jones said, particularly in the Oklahoma-Texas- Kansas area, which Jones referred to as "the country fried steak region." Restaurants in Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, Indiana and Nebraska currently carry the product.

"We don't know yet how well they will do in New York or California," said Jones. However, the product has appeared on Good Morning America, in the New York Times and in other major national newspapers. Cheeseburger Fries have generated an unusual amount of attention, said McLaughlin. …

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