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Wal-Mart can help you know future of beef.

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pointrider

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I like to go into Wal-Mart Supercenters to see where the beef industry is going. Retail grocery sales still outpace foodservice sales, and Wal-Mart is the number one grocery retailer in the U.S. They continue to put enormous pressure on other chains. It was just announced that Albertson's is for sale because of doing a poor job of competing, and will probably be bought by an investment alliance that includes SuperValu of Minnesota. Albertson's is the second largest strictly food retailer in the country behind Kroger. Both are far behind Wal-Mart now in total grocery sales.

Anyway, the Supercenter I just visited in the Phoenix area has a large section in the meat department for fresh, case ready beef products - most of which are presented in nice, clean looking white plastic trays that are covered by clear film. But there is also a "Quick Meals" section in the meat department. In that "Quick Meals" section I found some interesting products.

There were three rows of portion control ready-to-cook steaks from Chef's Requested Foods, Inc., Oklahoma City. On one row was a product called "Bacon wrapped beef tenderloin for Filet Mignon." There were 2 steaks in the package which had a total weight of 10 oz (5oz per steak), and the price for the package was $5.24 which is the equivalent of $8.38 per pound.

The other two rows contained a product called "Hand trimmed and cured bacon wrapped filet of beef containing up to 20% of a solution." This product also contained 2 steaks in a 10 oz package, and the price was $4.36, the equivalent of $6.98 per pound. At these prices, I think they will sell a lot of these steaks.

Both products looked very good, but, in my opinion, Wal-Mart was not doing something right. Only a couple of packages of the hand trimmed, cheaper meat were missing from the display, while almost all of the bacon wrapped beef for Filet Mignon were gone. Now, they could have just restocked the cheaper product rows, but my gut feeling was that the Filet Mignon product was selling much better. Not that much difference in price. Also, they were giving the Filet Mignon beef only one row compared to two rows for the steaks not selling well. Maybe there is a supply problem with the Filet Mignon beef.

There was quite a bit of information on the package including the web site address for Chef's Requested. So, I checked it out on the Internet. You might want to take a look yourself. These folks have been in the meat business a long time, and now they are in Wal-Mart, the nation's leading grocer. You may have to update your Macromedia flash program to see the web site (a free update). In my opinion, worth the time to see this site and others. Here's the link. Let us know what you think. I think we will see more of these niche market products.

www.chefsrequested.com

By the way, another interesting product in the "Quick Meals" was a pot roast complete with vegetables ready to go into a slow cooker from Tyson.
 

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