Prime Pak Foods Inc.: Packing Some Family Legacy into Every Product

Since 1972 Prime Pak Foods Inc. (Prime Pak) has been continuing a tradition of producing the highest quality homemade beef, poultry and pork products to the food service industry. The family-owned and -operated Georgia-based company offers meat processing, packing and co-packing. Prime Pak offers a wide range of products under its own brands, Robson Family Foods and Prime Pak Foods. From chicken tenders to southern-style hot wings, these products are free of artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Milton Robson began his venture in the food service industry by starting a distribution company in 1962. He opened Milton’s Portioned Packed Meats in 1972, which changed to Prime Pak as its current designation in 1985. Once Milton established Prime Pak, he purchased breading machines and began producing chicken tenders. Over the years the business progressed, and Milton decided to pass the company on to his son, Todd, in 1994.

“He said to me, ‘Todd, here’s your opportunity,’” recalls Todd Robson, current owner and president of Prime Pak. “We first started out as a raw processing plant. I began to add fryers and other upgrades. In 1995 we
built a par fry plant and a new spiral freezer as the operation grew.”

Taking over his father’s company was a natural transition for Todd, who has worked in the family business since he can remember. “I’ve been working for Milton Institutional Foods and Prime Pak my whole life,” he details. “While my father was still in charge, I worked on the distribution side of the business. I understood what the distributors wanted before I transitioned to manufacturing. I knew pretty early on that the food industry was the thing for me.”

Partnerships for Diverse Distribution

Prime Pak is located in Gainesville, Ga., which, coincidentally, has been dubbed “the Poultry Capital of the World.” Although the company owns one facility in Gainesville, it also partners with two sister companies. Victory Processing, a poultry sizing and deboning facility, and Allergy Free Foods in Dawsonville, Ga., allow Prime Pak further opportunities. Through Allergy Free Foods, Prime Pak is able to uphold the highest standard of quality for those limited by specific diets.

The company employs more than 900 individuals who process, hand-cut and package all of the meat that goes through Prime Pak’s facility. “Our commitment to a quality line of products and providing customers with the service they expect is our top priority,” ensures Todd. “We reach a broad customer base throughout the East Coast.”

Personalized Products by Hand

Todd admits Prime Pak’s strength is actually in its relatively small size. “We’re more versatile than our competitors, because we stay small,” he says. “We have the ability to personalize products for small to mid-size restaurant chains because our sister companies do the customized sizing, and we do the custom processing, which creates a special product for our customers.”

Prime Pak focuses on products that meet any consumer’s needs. “Our cooperation with Allergy Free Foods allows us to provide gluten- and allergen-free chicken tenders, filets and other products,” shares Todd. “We have a strong commitment to making sure there’s no cross-contamination.”

The Prime Pak team, however, does not rest on its laurels. “We’ve recently developed a fully cooked line and a par-fried line under our own branding,” reveals Todd. “We’re also testing new glazes and different flavor profiles for our breaded boneless chicken wings. We try to find options that are easier for our consumers, without sacrificing quality. While larger companies cut all products with machinery, over the years, even as we grew we stuck to hand-cut and homemade.”

Todd admits the economic downturn has proved to be a challenge for Prime Pak. “The toughest thing we’ve had to deal with is the cost of our ingredients skyrocketing,” he explains. “When the price of wheat and corn goes up that directly affects our breading cost; it’s doubled in the past few years and we’re just trying to keep up. Our freight costs have also spiked.”

Todd hopes Prime Pak’s new fully cooked and dietary specific products will help bring in more sales. “It’s about focusing on these new products and improving what we already do,” he says. “You have to look at the overall process and how to improve it. The question I ask myself is: ‘How can you get more pounds down the line more efficiently’ in order to better and tighten operations.”

After 40 years in the food processing business, Todd sees room for growth within Prime Pak’s fully cooked line. “Our lives our busier today than ever,” he admits. “People want easy. They want fast. They want convenient; that’s what we’ll give them, but with quality.” Todd envisions the team remaining on the smaller side, ensuring Prime Pak Foods Inc. can continue to pump out customized products through hands-on family ownership for years to come.

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