It’s a Big Old Case-Ready World

Oct 17, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Where have all the butchers gone?

According to a report by Elizabeth Lee of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “the supermarket butcher may be going the way of the milkman.”

Changes in the ways consumers prepare meals and the retailer’s desire for higher profits has meant greater space is being dedicated to case-ready product in the fresh meat department.

The fresh meat category is being split into two broad segments, according to unnamed industry observers referenced in the article. These include processed meat for daily meals and premium cuts for the niche foodie market and special meal occasions.

“The middle ground, the cuts of minimally processed meats with no added ingredients that have been a supermarket staple for decades, ” writes Ms. Lee, “is slowly dwindling.”

Wal-Mart is the highest profile case-ready advocate in the retail business. “We believe it improves the overall quality of the product and gives our customers a better eating experience,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk. “Case-ready meat is superior in tenderness and texture and juiciness and flavor to non-enhanced beef cuts.”

Bruce Aidells, meat cookbook author and a former owner of Aidells Sausage Co. disagrees. “When you compare it to the real thing,” he said, “it doesn’t have the taste.”

Moderator’s Comment: What is your take on the case-ready versus in-store butchered meat question?

Angela Wyatt, a consumer interviewed for the article said of her purchase of case-ready product, “I figured meat is meat.” [George
Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "It’s a Big Old Case-Ready World"

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David Brindisi
David Brindisi
9 years 2 months ago

Walmart doesn’t want butchers and/or meat cutters in their retail stores because they are the most likely group of workers in a grocery store to unionize. Union organizers know this and they often use the meat department as a way to get into the store. The union tries to organize the butchers and/or meat cutters first, using that as a starting point hoping to eventually organize the entire store.