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John Morrell Food Group Begins Partnership with Nathan's Famous

Company Enters Long-Term License Agreement Focused on Marketing Efforts and Retail Growth

LISLE, Ill., March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- John Morrell Food Group, a division of Smithfield Foods, announced today the beginning of an exclusive licensing agreement with Nathan's Famous, Inc. (NASDAQ: NATH) to manufacture and sell branded hot dog, sausage and corned beef products at retail stores nationally.  The agreement commenced in the beginning of March 2014.

John Morrell Food Group Begins Partnership with Nathan's Famous

"We are very excited to launch our new partnership with John Morrell Food Group," said Eric Gatoff, chief executive officer of Nathan's Famous. "It will allow our very successful retail licensing program to finally achieve a truly national sales, marketing and distribution footprint."

The John Morrell Food Group will leverage the new partnership with full-scale marketing efforts, both in store and out highlighted by exciting consumer events including a three race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sponsorship with Richard Petty Motorsports and driver Aric Almirola and the addition of new settings for Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events.

The new venues that will host Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events include Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, during "Nathan's Day" at the ballpark on May 17.  The Speed Street Festival in Charlotte, N.C. will host the event for the first time on May 24 around the NASCAR races during Memorial Day weekend.  Finally, competitions featuring the world's best eaters will take place at NASCAR Sprint Cup events at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania and Sonoma Raceway in California in June.

"This is the beginning of a great partnership with the John Morrell Food Group," said Wayne Norbitz, president and chief operating officer of Nathan's.  "There are many great events planned for the summer to excite and engage our consumers including new hot dog eating events and the sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports.  This, along with many other efforts still to come with John Morrell Food Group, will lead to continued awareness and growth for Nathan's."

Nathan's Famous will also be promoted nationally with mobile sampling vehicles and a NASCAR show car tour covering stops coast to coast at local grocers and events.  The mobile units will stop at over  350 locations throughout the spring, summer and fall.  Consumers will be able to sample the great taste of Nathan's Hot Dogs at the mobile sampling events as well as enjoy the unique experience of Coney Island with carnival games, an interactive photo booth, a Zoltar fortune telling coupon machine and the International Hot Dog Eating Contest Championship Belt which will be on display for consumers to see firsthand.

"We have put many hours of planning into our marketing efforts to support our new relationship with Nathan's Famous," said John Pauley, executive vice president of sales and marketing for John Morrell Food Group.  "We want to bring the excitement of the original, authentic hot dog across the country and really bring alive that excitement through our NASCAR partnership, the Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifying events and our mobile sampling units.  It's going to be a great summer for Nathan's."

Later this month, John Morrell Food Group and Nathan's Famous will debut new social media outlets for the Nathan's brand including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where consumers can learn more about Nathan's products, coupons and future promotions.  In addition, a new website will also be unveiled by the end of April as well.

About Nathan's
Nathan's is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands and nine foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. The Nathan's restaurant system currently consists of more than 320 units, comprised of over 315 franchised units and five company-owned units (including one seasonal unit). Nathan's first began selling its world famous premium hot dogs in Coney Island, New York, in 1916. For additional information about Nathan's please visit our website at www.nathansfamous.com.

About John Morrell Food Group
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat products to families across the United States. With products ranging from lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell Food Group is an important part of consumers' mealtimes. The John Morrell Food Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour®, Eckrich®, John Morrell®, Curly's®, Patrick Cudahy®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Margherita® Kretschmar® and LunchMakers®.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $13 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®, Kretschmar®, Curly's®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and www.smithfieldcommitments.com.

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SOURCE John Morrell Food Group

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