FOOD: Not Just Chicken Feed

A born TV star Frank Perdue is not. He is bald, has an ample nose and speaks with a high-pitched, nasal twang. In the Northeast, where Perdue in white lab coat regularly appears in commercials, more than one viewer has noted his resemblance to the chickens he sells. Yet, thanks to some brilliant Madison Avenue copywriting ("It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," "My chickens eat better than you do") and believably homespun performances by the unlikely actor, Perdue Inc. has become the fastest-growing U.S. chicken producer.

Since 1971, Perdue's...

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