Papa GeorgeStillwater, Minn – George Ghanem has been marketing ethnic and gourmet meats to Midwest consumers for 10 years. His food company, Papa George, now makes nine products, including pork sausage, gyros, ground lamb and cucumber sauce. Last December, Papa George added pork sausage links in three flavors: original, Italian and maple.

AURI’s meat lab in Marshall has worked with Papa George on several new products since 1993. “I have a great love for spices and herbs,” says Ghanem who adds he wants to offer his customers tasty, healthy, affordable food products with no added preservatives. Ghanem spent several months testing and revising his new sausage links. “Even after people said they liked them, we didn’t think the taste was optimal,” he says. “We went through months of refinement and improvement.” The sausage links, like all Papa George’s products, have no MSG, no preservatives and no fillers. “That’s one way we distinguish ourselves from other brands.” The links are juicy but lean, containing 55 percent less fat than regular pork sausage, Ghanem says.

All Papa George’s meats are processed in Minnesota and Wisconsin and packaged in gold and red wrappers with a distinctive Mediterranean galley logo. The product line is distributed by Super Valu and sells in grocery stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas and Illinois.

Ghanem, soft-spoken and genial, spends much of his time on sales. He logs hundreds of hours a year cooking sausages at supermarket meat counters, giving away samples and talking to consumers. “I do a lot of store demos, several a week,” a cost-effective way to advertise new products, Ghanem says.

Ghanem loves to cook and is working on more new products, including some vegetarian items. A physicist by training, he uses a scientific approach to business development. But, he adds, “If I had known 10 years ago what I know now, I might not have tried it.”

Still, there is nothing more satisfying than giving people good things to eat, Ghanem says. His philosophy: “If you have something good, let everyone enjoy it. The food business is hard, but it’s not impossible.”

For more information about Papa George’s products, visit www.papageorges.com