Growing up in the Washington, D.C., area in the 1970s, I knew that “it took a tough man to make a tender chicken,” because Frank Perdue and his company, Perdue Farms, told me so on television. Perdue Farms’ clever television campaigns established a connection in the minds of consumers between Frank Perdue and good chicken as strong as the link between Colonel Sanders and fried chicken.
Frank Perdue is no longer with us, and with the Perdues' sale of Heritage Breeders to Cobb-Vantress, another lynchpin in those old Perdue marketing campaigns is gone as well. Perdue Farms featured its primary breeding program in its television ads over the years. The old ads still make me chuckle. Perdue’s breeding program, first for broilers and later for roasters, became points of differentiation in the company’s marketing program. A Perdue chicken truly was “different” from the competition, because it was another breed.
It has been a long time since Perdue exclusively raised its own breed of broilers, and the company has offered its roaster breeding stock to its competitors for several years as well. Now, with the sale of Heritage Breeders, Perdue Farms exits the primary breeding business entirely. Genetics of the bird is no longer a point of differentiation for the Perdue Farms brand, but they still have Marigold petals in that all-vegetable diet.