Partnership Produces New Beef Products

Partnership Produces New Beef Products

St. Helen’s Meat Packers has teamed up with the Ontario Corn Fed Beef Program (OCFBP) on two new beef products.

Rachel’s Corned Beef Brisket and North of 90 Beef Breakfast Strips are aimed at filling a void in the marketplace, giving more consumers a chance to enjoy Ontario Corn Fed Beef, the signature brand of the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA).  The collaboration is the latest example of the partnership between the OCFBP and the Toronto processor.

“We definitely try and focus on niche groups and niche markets, working within Ontario and creating part of that homegrown feel,” says Marco Maturi, director of marketing at St. Helen’s.

Maturi describes St. Helen’s as a mid-size packing and processing company. It was founded in 1980 by the Bielak family, but its corporate roots go back to the early 1950’s with the opening of a small butcher shop in Toronto.

Today, St. Helen’s Meat Packers Limited and its associated companies employ over 300 workers. It remains a family-owned and operated business.

Rachel Bielak, daughter of St. Helen’s President Robert Bielak, works in sales and product development. As one of a few members of the next generation who are working in the business, she is involved with developing the new Rachel’s Corned Beef Brisket.

Reflecting more than her name, a “Rachel” is also a type of sandwich that is often used as an alternative for the classic Reuben corned beef sandwich. As a brand name, it demonstrates their effort to target the product as a deli meat.

“It’s hard to find a pickled corned beef brisket in a store to make a really good quality corned beef sandwich like you would get in a deli in Toronto or Montreal,” says Rachel. “So we have developed a product that is comparable, if not better than that.”

Educating the consumer about the use of the product as a deli meat for sandwiches will be an important part of the marketing strategy. When giving away samples, Bielak says they like to show how the corned beef tastes on rye bread. “Once they try it, they want it,” adds Bielak.

The OCFA featured Rachel’s Corned Beef Brisket in a similar fashion at its booth at the Good Food Festival and Market in Toronto, April 23 to 25.  The OCFA cooked the product inside the impressive “There’s No Taste Like Home” mobile kitchen unit.

New Breakfast Beef Strips

In addition to the brisket, St. Helen’s other new product featuring Ontario Corn Fed Beef – North of 90 Breakfast Strips – was also promoted during the show.

The bacon-style beef strips are aimed at developing a new market for Ontario beef. While the beef strips offer an alternative to consumers who do not eat pork because of religious dietary practices or for other reasons, Bielak says it is a distinct product.

“It stands on its own” for the same purposes. It’s a product we developed that we thought could be new and different in the beef world.”

On branding and the growing local food movement, both Bielak and Maturi say those are key are factors in today’s market. “You need something that people recognize and associate with quality – and know they’re going to be assured that it’s a good product,” says Bielak.

Besides consistent quality and tenderness in beef products, Maturi says more consumers and retailers are becoming interested in product size and appearance. “They want something that fits within the plate and the aesthetics, or look, of the product, so when they retail it, it sells itself.”

Maturi says the market is also demanding standards for quality and consistency. He notes that incorporating the OCFBP helps to deliver those benchmarks. “It adds that extra level of confidence in the product: you’re getting a consistent product; a quality product all the time.”

3 Comments

  1. Rachel’s Deli Corned Beef Brisket is a product that I have just had the pleasure of tasting. I have been a fan of home made corned beef, which I had purchased over the years from Maple Leaf. I live near the City of Kitchener, where Schneiders meats got bought out by Maple Leaf in the last few years. In the past few years, I have found that their product, was getting harder and harder to find at the grocery store, until I saw Rachel’s on sale at my local Zehr’s grocery store. (Loblaws)
    I purchased 3 packages of Rachel’s and took it home for the freezer. Usually, I thaw a package and boil it for up to 2 hours in the bag, and then finish it on the BBQ with a pinch of BBQ sauce….fantastic!!!! Rachel’s was NO disappointment whatsoever, in fact it fared superior to any Maple Leaf product I had tried in the past. I hope you continue to offer this in our Zehr’s and hope that you would educate the public to the value and taste and option that this beef offers a family that counts their pennies. If it’s offered at the 3-4$/lb. range then I would purchase it again and again. Lots of people would have no clue as to how to cook and prepare it. If I can help I will. Thanks for this, Mark

  2. this product is delicious (corned beef) please keep producing more halal products.

  3. This was fantastic. High quality product that held up superbly during cooking, even without the bag,and offered a finished product along the lines of some well known restaurant offerings. Highly recommend this and can only hope it remains available at my local store. We have been looking for a replacement from our previous corned beef for our upcoming St. Patricks Day Party and now have found it. Thank you Rachel.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *