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Morrison Meat Pies Creates Products
Featuring American Lamb


By Ross McSwain

Morrison Meat PiesColorado Springs, CO (October 15, 2008) – A simple meat pie created 125 years ago by a New Zealander is now making life easier for housewives as well as bachelors living in the American northwest who need a fast, delicious meal during these busy times.

In 1883, Thomas Morrison started Morrison Meat Pie Company. He was a recent immigrant to the United States from New Zealand and his first business was selling a tasty Scottish hot meat pie on the streets of Salt Lake City. According to one business story, the meat pies were of high quality, spiced ground meat wrapped in pastry. The recipe is still basically the same, but made under strict supervision in a number of different varieties in a modernized plant with new equipment.

Today, Morrison Scottish meat pies and Aussie Pies are being marketed in a number of outlets in Utah and has for the first time in its history, expanded out-of-state into Oregon, Washington and an eight state region including N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Arizona. They also ship anywhere in the United States to customers through their internet site, www.morrisonmeatpies.com.

Morrison Meat PiesMorrison’s wholesale grocery store distribution channel presently consists of Associated Foods, Albertson’s, Smith/Kroger, Super Wal-Mart and Super Target. In addition, Morrison products have been accepted into Costco stores in the Salt Lake City area, Western Boxed Meats in Portland and Whole Foods Markets in Salt Lake City.

Eugene and Susan Tafoya became the fifth-in-line owners of the firm in April 2004. As they assumed ownership of Morrison’s, the Tafoya’s recognized the firm’s inherent value; a long unbroken history of operation, a loyal customer base, an existing distribution channel and USDA Certified status for their products.

Prior to their purchasing the company, Morrison’s was a small, family-owned enterprise. The Tafoya’s purchase marked the beginning of a new operational plan with a focus on expanding the company’s product line beyond the famous Scottish meat pie, its flagship product, and introduced the beef and soy chili brick, the Scottish lamb pie and the new Aussie-style lamb pies.

In 2006, the Tafoya’s submitted a business plan to the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA) Sheep & Goat Fund to show how Morrison's could increase lamb consumption in the United States by providing a value-added lamb product in a convenient, less expensive medium. Later that year, NLPA approved the request and Morrison Meat Pies received its funding. Thus far, the company has used the funds to increase the automation of their plant and to create a product new to the U.S. market called the “Aussie Travelers Pies” or “Aussie Pie”, using locally produced lamb.

Morrison Label“This particular product has become a favorite among Morrison customers,” Gene Tafoya said.

Co-owner Eugene Tafoya, president and managing director, has an extensive background in sales and marketing management, having worked for several major corporations. He is responsible for sales and marketing, expanding the Morrison product line, forming key alliances, growing the company’s distribution channels and new product development.

Susan Tafoya, vice president and operations manager, has had a long career in research, public health, clinical laboratory sales and management. She is in charge of raising capital, writing funding proposals, and managing operations to conform to USDA and HACCP requirements. She oversees vendor relations and new business development.

The third person in the firm’s leadership chain is Richard Gunther, a professional baker and Morrison’s production manager. He oversees the development of Aussie-style pies and other products.

In October 2007, in a joint venture with Morgan Valley Lamb Company of Utah, Morrison’s received a grant from the USDA Rural Development VAPG totaling $225,000 for fiscal 2007-2008. The NLPA provided an additional line of credit for working capital, and Love Communications and Producers Livestock Association provided in-kind matching funds for the project to help increase consumption in the United States.

In a statement, Morrison’s noted that with this funding in place, the firm continues to introduce the much anticipated line of authentic Aussie Pies in a commercial launch to penetrate the U.S. market, and with additional planning it will initiate a line of appetizers as well as school lunch pies for the institutional market.

Despite these successes, Morrison’s has been faced with unprecedented increases in the cost of raw ingredients, such as flour, margarine, meat and milk. These items have doubled and tripled in price since original projections were made on getting this new value-added product to the marketplace. In addition, gasoline price increases have caused huge increases in transportation, and plastics and packaging materials also have skyrocketed.

Although production cost increases have strained the firm’s cash flow and posed new challenges, Morrison’s products have received excellent reception as the pies have been introduced to consumers, buyers and grocery distributors.


“We are enthusiastic and excited about opening new markets as we begin to expand our marketplace outside of Utah for the first time in the company’s history,” Gene Tafoya said.

For more information about the NLPA Sheep & Goat Fund or an application please contact the National Livestock Producers Association at (800) 237-7193, ext. 10 or visit www.SheepandGoatFund.com.

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The National Livestock Producers Association, founded in 1921, is an organization of livestock marketing cooperatives and credit corporations representing more than 150,000 livestock producers nationwide.



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