Meat + Complete to Open New USDA-Inspected Kitchen
The grand opening will take place on Saturday, November 26, at 409 W. B St., Valentine, Neb., from 1-4PM CST.Chelsea Luthy had the idea of trying to improve her health and the health of her loved ones by developing a better snack bar. After taking the idea public, the result has been beyond her wildest expectations. Her company, Meat & Complete, will open a USDA-inspected kitchen facility in Valentine, Neb., and she will be able to take her Cibo bars to a larger audience than ever.
The grand opening will take place on Saturday, November 26, at 409 W. B St., Valentine, Neb., from 1-4PM CST. The ribbon-cutting takes place at 1:00. Attendees will be able to tour the new facility and participate in raffle drawings.
“For a long time, the idea sat idle until it hit me: if I don't pursue this I'll never know if I can positively impact my health and the health of others if I don't at least try,” Luthy said.
Cibo, pronounced “Chee-boh,” stands for Complete Ingredients, Better Options. “These bars are unique and made from 90% lean, grass-fed ground beef, plus a fruit, vegetable, and savory spice blend baked in a ready-to-eat bar,” Luthy says. She began experimenting with ground beef, fruits, vegetables and spices and baked them because it was the healthiest option. Luthy perfected the recipe by using the most finnicky, difficult taste test panel she could find – her three daughters.
“I figured if my three little girls liked them, I would have a win! Well, they love and request them, and I am seeing my vision of helping feed the world come to life,” she said.
The Cibo bars were originally produced in a state-licensed community kitchen, and they were sold directly to customers at farmers markets and fairs, as well as its retail location in Valentine. The new expansion increases its production space to 760 square feet and will allow Meat & Complete to expand its distribution area. The bars are also available through its online store, www.meat-complete.com.
To get the project off the ground, Luthy discussed the concept with The Combine, the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, and the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “We were able to consider all facets of our approach to the product, such as should the item be sold fresh or should it be shelf stable. I opted for the fresh approach. It meant we would have to make a refrigerated or frozen product, but we would be doing it without any preservatives, sugars, or other additives,” she explained.
With the expanded production space, Meat & Complete will be able to expand its Give Back Program as well. “We want to feed the world – starting with our communities,” Luthy said. A portion of the company's sales and third-party donations have allowed the company to donate bars to others in need. “We have most recently donated over 150 Cibo meat protein bars to relocated Ukrainian refugee families that are now living in Norfolk, Neb.,” she said.