In an effort to boost sales just ahead of the U.S. grilling season, and make shopping at the meat counter a bit easier, the pork and beef industries are retooling more than 350 names of meat cuts to give them more sizzle and consumer appeal. The revised meat names came about after two years of consumer research, which found that the labels on packages of fresh cuts of pork and beef are confusing to shoppers.
A stroll down the meat aisle had become baffling for shoppers looking for a steak. When seeing packages of “butler steak” or “beef shoulder top blade steak, boneless, flat iron” – they would walk away with an empty cart. Recently, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, with the blessing of officials with USDA, got the nod to update the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, or URMIS. Though the URMIS system is voluntary, a majority of U.S. food retailers use it. Pork and beef industry officials say they hope the new names will show up in stores nationwide by this summer’s grilling season.
If it does, the lowly pork chop will be gone. Instead, grocery retailers could be stocking stacks of “porterhouse chops,” “ribeye chops” and “New York chops.” The pork butt – which actually comes from shoulder meat – will be called a Boston roast. One of the biggest challenges is the general belief among consumers that a pork chop is a pork chop. But not all pork chops are equal, and not all pork chops are priced equally.
So much for pork being known as the other white meat–a label the pork industry used for years to lure consumers away from chicken. In the beef aisle, a boneless shoulder top blade steak will become a flatiron steak, a beef under blade boneless steak will become a Denver Steak. Not all names in the meat counter will change – ground beef will still be ground beef.
The new retail names will also come with new labels for retail packages, which will tell consumers what part of the animal’s body the cut comes from, as well as include suggested cooking instructions.
Overseas demand for U.S. meat has cooled as both Russia and China have concerns about possible traces of the feed additive ractopamine, which is used to make meat leaner. That has protein clogging the nation’s supply chain and the supply pork and beef in commercial freezers hit a record high for the month of February.
Also domestic sales have been slow as the relatively cool spring has quashed consumer interest in breaking out the backyard grill.
While fresh beef and pork cuts have official names that are approved by USDA, compliance with using those naming conventions is voluntary for the industry.
At least one section of the meat department will stay the same: A spokesman for the National Chicken Council said that no such plans are in place to change the names of chicken cuts. A chicken breast, the official, will remain a breast!
Source: reuters.com 4.3.2013
Saval Foodservice – the #1 Independent Broadline Wholesale Food Service Distributor in Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Serving restaurants, carry outs, delis, caterers, country clubs, and grocery stores.