AMSA is excited to announce that Martha Cassens is the recipient of the 2012 AMSA Meat Processing Award. Cassens will be honored at a special reception and awards presentation at the AMSA 65th Reciprocal Meat Conference on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in Fargo, ND. The award, established in 1977, is sponsored by Smithfield Foods.
ASMA Executive Director Dr. Thomas Powell said, “As a meat scientist, Martha's findings have consistently been used to effectively improve products for her company. She is adept at applying current scientific knowledge to the practical needs of the meat industry.”
Martha Cassens is a meat industry professional with over 20 years of food research and quality assurance, as well as product, process, and package development experience acquired from her work with several major food processing companies. A motivator, she leads people and projects with a passion for creativity, new technology and problem solving with extremely high standards for success. Cassens also works effectively with customers.
Cassens has developed well over 300 innovative products, modified many others, and promoted cost savings of as much as $14 million per year. Among her numerous accomplishments, she developed the first low fat carrageenan Vienna frankfurter which received national newspaper recognition, developed and produced the first Healthy Choice® tray pack ground beef, established many new processes for ConAgra and the meat industry, and helped develop important improvements in product performance.
Among her many achievements with Sara Lee, Cassens and her team introduced the first “better for you” Jimmy Dean D-light Sandwiches and Bowls and State Fair Whole Grain Corn Dogs. She led the Research and development and Process Development teams in the automation of Jimmy Dean Bowls. Her team has also introduced Jimmy Dean Tray Pack Sausage, Fully Cooked Turkey Sausage and All Natural Pork Sausage.
She has managed and inspired the packaging department to deliver innovative packages that changed the industry. – An example is Jimmy Dean Hearty Sausage Crumbles which won Consumer Survey Product Innovation of the Year 2011 - Breakfast category. She has also won 13 prestigious company awards for her work. She was also part of the design and opening team for the Kitchens of Sara Lee Campus.
Cassens taught as an instructor for ConAgra/Iowa State University classes and other forums. She continues her own education through short courses, and has enjoyed working with great chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Jacque Pepin, and John Folse.
She takes great pride in her work and feels it is wonderful to be able to say "We developed that product” and then see it at the store. She has extensive expertise with leading and promoting people and enjoys research, development, processing, packaging, and camaraderie with her fellow meat scientists.
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AMSA fosters community and professional development among individuals who create and apply science to efficiently provide safe and high quality meat defined as red meat (beef, pork and lamb), poultry, fish/seafood and meat from other managed species.