What's a "protein provider" to do? While carb-producing companies such as Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) have been offering up a stale Atkins excuse for the past year, firms hawking hog, beef, and chicken products need to look elsewhere for explanations. Meat slicer extraordinaire Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) was cut 7% this morning after releasing revised earnings guidance. And by revised, I mean lowered.

The firm said that full-year earnings would come in between $1.08 and $1.15 for the year. That still represents earnings growth of 13% to 20% for the year, so why the chilly reception? Well, only last month, the folks with the keys to the nice washrooms were predicting $1.20 to $1.30. And, as W.D. Crotty pointed out at the time, the Street was expecting more.

The reasons given for Tyson's upcoming slumming were bad results from grain hedging as well as reduced demand for chicken and beef. There's not much to be done about the latter, but hedging on animals and feed through buying options, which are supposed to reduce the firm's financial risk, is another matter. It doesn't always work out. For an example of what happens to the bottom line when you make better bets, see how Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD) did recently.

While any company with a 225-page quarterly report and indecipherable hedging explanations will never make my lazy investor watch list, there may be plenty of value available right now in the meat market. Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM) was clobbered last week, but it has great balance sheets and strong free cash flow, plus better margins and a much lower P/E ratio than competitors such as Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE:PPC), and Smithfield.

And the original SPAMer, HormelFoods (NYSE:HRL), gets no love from the Street, though it's growing nicely and is bargain-priced. Tyson, for its part, may not represent the best deal in the group, but if the current markdown continues, Fools should relish the opportunity to add this solid performer to their portfolios.

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Seth Jayson eats a mess of Tyson chicken, but he has no position in any company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.