Marsh, Meijer to Only Sell Meat Raised in the U.S.A.

Jul 07, 2009
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Before it became law, opponents of country of original labeling
(COOL) mandates argued that it would drive up costs as companies became
responsible for tracking meat from its conception to eventual sale at a
grocery store’s checkout lane.

Some merchants have decided they’d rather not play the labeling
game and announced a policy change that would result in chains only selling
meat made in the U.S.

Marsh and Meijer are among
the chains only selling American raised meat products.

"With all of the different things that have happened medically
to people, people frown on
products not from the USA,” Marsh spokeswoman Connie Gardner told
the Indianapolis Star.

Other chains that do sell meat imported from outside the U.S.
include Wal-Mart Stores and Kroger. Both companies argued that meat imported
from outside the U.S. is safe and must meet the same requirements as cuts
from cattle and fowl raised here.

Wal-Mart Stores made the point that the company is international
and that it draws on resources from many locations. Only poultry is 100
percent sourced domestically.

Kroger spokesperson John Elliott scoffed at the notion that
meat processed in the U.S. is any safer than product from other locations.

"The largest recall we’ve seen on ground beef was actually
a U.S. source,” Mr. Elliott told the Star.
"The reality is that regardless of the country of origin there are stringent
inspection rules in place.”

Discussion Questions: Will Meijer
and Marsh be able to create an effective point of difference selling
‘Made in the U.S.A.’ meat and poultry? Do American consumers really
care where their meat is coming from?

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7 Comments on "Marsh, Meijer to Only Sell Meat Raised in the U.S.A."

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David Livingston
11 years 10 months ago

I don’t think American consumers care where their meat comes from as long as it tastes good. Otherwise Walmart and Kroger would not be two of the biggest meat sellers in the country. In fact, there almost seems to be some romance thinking your steak has come from some exotic place like Argentina or New Zealand.

From a marketing standpoint, I doubt there will be much of a return on the investment. I think Stew Leonard’s has a better program where they sell both. They have their regular imported meat and they also have videos of their cattle ranch in Montana to promote their domestic-raised beef.

Len Lewis
Len Lewis
11 years 10 months ago

Made in the U.S.A. is no guarantee of anything these days. I doubt if it ever was. It may be a good promotional ploy, a la the made in the U.S. campaign that Walmart did so many years ago but in the end, you are depriving customers of good cost-effective and safe products. And, if this U.S.-centric idea spreads to other products, I can almost guarantee there will be political repercussions.

Mel Kleiman
11 years 10 months ago

This only selling made in the U.S. is going to fail. If other retailers saw it as a threat to growing or retaining their customer base, all they’d need to do is to make sure the product is labeled with country of origin and then the consumer can choose which product they want to buy. My strawberries came from Mexico and the cherries came from Chile…and the list goes on.

David Biernbaum
11 years 10 months ago

More than any other factor, I believe that the “Made in the USA” meat products is excellent for marketing purposes. Consumers will respond favorably to companies such as Meijer and Marsh Supermarkets for executing the campaign.

Gene Detroyer
11 years 10 months ago

This is a marketing ploy and nothing more. It is directed at a xenophobic element in the U.S. For those consumers who pay attention to how U.S. meat is processed and the extent of inspection in the industry, it will make very little difference. Recalls of U.S.-grown meat have been vastly greater than imported meat.

Produce is an area where there have been some problems with imported product. Perhaps these retailers should go one more step and carry only U.S. grown produce. Of course, then they will have to reduce the size of their produce section.

The best policy is to give the shopper the most information possible and let the shopper decide what to buy.

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
11 years 10 months ago

I applaud Meijer and Marsh for only selling meats raised and processed in the U.S. Over the last 20 years the US has lost significant ground in manufacturing. Not being able to support our own food supply chain is a major concern. I am confident other retailers will follow. In fact, my hope is this trend will carry over to other products including tools, clothing, etc.

I believe Americans are eager to once again buy a quality product made in the USA at a fair price. Manufacturers might consider testing the waters with Made in the USA products. Sears had a stronghold on this and lost sight of their differentiator because they thought they needed to complete with Walmart on price. Yes, Americans care about price, but they also care about quality and jobs that stay in the US. More importantly, they care about their health and the safety of the products and food they purchase.

Li McClelland
Li McClelland
11 years 10 months ago
Having watched store personnel struggle to keep up with the COOL signs in several produce departments in my area over the past year it’s become clear that the labeling law has considerable costs in planning, personnel time and printing. (Like if the store buyer obtained strawberries grown in a different country two days ago than today’s batch, and like if the peaches that are flying out of the store on .89 per lb special came from several different countries so they can’t legally be mixed into the same bin during re-stocking.) And then there will always be the inevitable lawsuits where some shopper notices a crate of grapes labeled “Mexico” being packed (probably innocently) into the store display that says “California grown.” While produce necessarily comes from more non-USA places than meat does due to staggered growing seasons, it seems to me that Meijer and Marsh will be saving themselves a lot of grief if they can source and sell meats grown only in the USA, and say so simply on one big sign in… Read more »

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