Back to Supplier Profiles
Supplier Profiles

Butterball: Sharing the Spirit of the Holidays

Since Butterball turkeys were introduced more than 60 years ago, they’ve become synonymous with the holidays. The name conjures up images of meals shared with family.

  • June 27, 2019

In 2006, after Carolina Turkeys acquired the Butterball division from ConAgra Foods Inc., Butterball LLC was established in its current form. Today, the North Carolina–based company is the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S., processing more than 1 billion pounds of turkey annually. Sysco’s partnership with Butterball LLC has evolved over the past decade. “It’s been an increasingly strong relationship,” says Richie Jenkins, Senior Director of National Accounts and Marketing for Butterball Foodservice. “We’re approaching the business differently. Ten years ago, it was more transactional; now it’s more relational.”

Food safety, animal safety and associate safety are pillars of Butterball.

Richie Jenkins

Senior Director of National Accounts and Marketing, Butterball

Core Values

A main focus of Butterball is ensuring high safety standards across all areas of the company. “Food safety, animal safety and associate safety are pillars of Butterball,” says Jenkins, noting that Butterball is part of the Global Food Safety Initiative and the largest American Humane Certified turkey producer. “We are always researching new technologies, ingredients and processes, and we’re very involved and on top of animal care and well-being.”

The company focuses on reducing its environmental footprint by measuring everything from gas use to refrigeration. In the past, that monitoring has led Butterball to install LED lighting, which reduces electricity use, and to increase the amount of recycled water at company facilities.

Giving back to the community is another key component of Butterball’s mission. The company donates millions of pounds of food each year and supports many nonprofit organizations. “It’s great to be a good corporate citizen,” Jenkins says. “When someone sees the Butterball logo, there’s a connection between the brand and the holidays. Giving back is an extension of that—the holidays are about family, community and good feelings.”

An Enduring Partnership

Although Sysco’s relationship with Butterball continues throughout the year, there is a spike as the holidays draw near. It’s a jump that’s also seen on the retail side—unsurprisingly, since one in three turkeys at Thanksgiving are Butterball birds. “That’s our Super Bowl,” says Jenkins. “It’s our biggest time of the year.”

Butterball provides Sysco with every- thing from ground turkey and turkey burgers to dark-meat items, like ham and pastrami, under the Sysco brand. It also supplies a variety of Butterball- andCarolina Turkeys–labeled products. “Pretty much anything there is to do with turkey, we’re doing with Sysco,” Jenkins says. “We’ve grown stronger together over time, and we’ll continue to deliver the products consumers crave.”

Ask your Marketing Associate about Butterball items that are right for your holiday menu.