For years, fast-food and casual dining chains have played up the variety of their menus, often at the expense of the classic American hamburger. By broadening their offerings, many chains seemed to be saying that the burger was boring, a relic. Lately, however, there’s been a resurgence in the old-fashioned hamburger, and it hasn’t come from players like McDonald’s or Burger King. A growing number of regional burger chains have elevated the burger to something more than the first option on the value menu, and they’ve done so by concentrating almost exclusively on making hamburgers the right way with fresher ingredients and more care than the typical fast-food chain.

Golden Valley Industries of Stockton, Calif., has served its supermarket clients with high-quality variety meats and exceptional customer service since 1997. President and CEO Mike Sullivan and his father, Chuck Sullivan, started the company after identifying a unique need in the marketplace that had been ignored by other companies in the retail meat industry. “It’s the age-old adage: You find a niche and sell it,” he states.

When Steve Gill and his brother David agreed to process onions for their first customer in 1983, little did they realize that by 2008, they would be facing a 300,000-pound daily disposal problem of the onions’ tops, tails and peels. That is the amount of waste generated daily by the nearly 1 million pounds of onions Gills Onions processes daily. Over 10 years, Gill researched the problem and worked on solutions with the help of the ag engineering department at the University of California at Davis, HDR Inc. in Omaha, Neb., and numerous consultants.

Faribault Foods is more than a food packager – it is a solution for producers looking to outsource their niche product manufacturing. “We’re a full-service supplier,” Vice President of Manufacturing Scott King says. “From sourcing ingredients to the end-product, we can and have done it all for all sorts of individuals.”

What happens when you combine a U.S. dairy manufacturer leading the way in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products and one of the top-six dairy companies in the world by turnover with a global chain that extends to more than 140 countries? The answer is DairiConcepts, a strategic partnership established in 2000 between Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Inc. and Fonterra Co-operative Group.

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