July 7, 2014

So who has the Better Meat Department?

NEW YORK — Almost every major kosher supermarket these days emphasizes meat in its advertisements. It has for many become their defining label. Some of the ads show the butchers while others a sumptuous looking (albeit raw) steak. In the summer, it is all about grilling, and some would have you believe that the quality of the grilling depends on expert training, or better still, their own experts. In the case of Mountain Fruit, it's a tutorial on-line. 

Many of the photos show photos of red meat as if they had an edge on quality, albeit that many buy from the same sources. Some of the kosher stores say that they are experiencing somewhat of resurgence in the sale of red meat after several years of decline. They believe that price is still a major factor for many middle class families, who while they eye the good looking meats in the end settle for cheaper meats or poultry. For middle-aged customers, say the stores, the red meat raises concerns about health. For the stores the meat department can be an important profit center although a few use the meats as “almost a loss leader,” as one store put it. 

Many customers still covet the idea of eating meat from a butcher who is expert in cuts of meat. With the virtual disappearance of the classic butcher, some of the stores seek to create the in-house butcher even when they simply repackage meats. Customers appear to be “very picky” when it comes to meats, said one retailer, but the trick is to get them to the meat department in the first place. The retailers hope that the full page ads in the glossy weekly magazines will do the trick.