Customer Spotlight – Hazekamp’s Premier Foods

We check in with Dave Hazekamp, president of Premier Foods, about Excalibur’s role in their growing success.

Ask Dave Hazekamp what his family company has been doing well for more than 100 years and he’ll say. “Bottom line? It’s listening to our customers.”

Hazekamp’s Premier Foods is a meat processing and distribution facility in Muskegon, Michigan specializing in fresh, consumer-ready foods, including ground beef, case-ready beef and pork, and private label sausage.

They service grocery retailers, food service, and military facilities throughout the central United States, from Michigan to Florida and east of the Mississippi. The company employs about 150 people throughout the year with an additional 75 workers on board during the busy summer grilling season.

“From 1905 to 1990, we were a small slaughterhouse,” recalls Hazekamp. “Our business was harvesting animals and we had six to eight employees. Honestly, we were simply hanging on every day.

“In 1990, we connected with a mid-sized retailer in Michigan that asked us to cut and package meat the way they wanted. That changed everything.

“Now, this is how we approach our customers. If they ask, ‘Can you do this?’, we’ll sit down and work it out to their specifications.”

That kind of specialty service has led to Hazekamp’s value-added line of ready-made foods. These items are labor intensive and can be more challenging to produce at the store level for small to mid-sized shops.

“We are flexible enough to create and package kabobs or other meats on a stick, and items like boneless stuffed chicken breasts with brown sugar and pineapple. It’s a successful program for our retailers because it tastes great, people like it, and they keep coming back for more.”

Excalibur, Hazekamp’s partner for more than a decade, works with their value-added line, offering up the latest flavor profiles to enhance their ready-made proteins.

“Our customers come back when they see great new taste combinations. That’s where we rely on Excalibur to boost our research and development. We show customers new products along with Excalibur’s latest flavor profiles and what’s trending, and put it together for them.”

 So what are some of Dave Hazekamp’s favorite Excalibur products? The marinades and meatball seasoning, he says, have nice flavor and always taste exactly as expected.

“Excalibur has a solid R&D group, and we have a lot in the mix with them right now. I know we have not tried every offering at Excalibur, so the potential is there for debuting even more great new offerings.”