Beefing up the service meats case
A&P has unveiled a new certified Angus beef program with the goal of making its service meat operation a differentiating factor for its Fresh format stores. In doing so, it is positioning itself among food retailers, including Meijer and Safeway, who are using premium beef to re-establish the service meat case as a major draw.
Service meat is an opportunity supermarkets are seizing upon to distinguish themselves from those alternative food retailers that have taken narrow, if successful, approaches to the meat business.
Safeway, for example, is using high-quality meat operations as an added amenity in its Lifestyles stores, particularly those that serve affluent communities. A&P, though, has taken an additional step, developing a carefully regulated program designed to convince consumers that its service case beef offers the best and most consistent quality available.
In a Northeast exclusive partnership with Austin, Texas-based PGA Beef, A&P secured the exclusive right to carry Premium Gold Angus. Developed with a United States Department of Agriculture-approved, genetically verified system of ensuring that all meat is 100% Angus breed, PGA is determined to create a brand that provides a level of quality and consistency that’s superior to anything on the market. Under USDA rules, said Dwight Hartley, founder and ceo of PGA Beef, producers can call beef Angus if it is from 51% black cattle. The cows don’t even have to be real Angus, just from a black-hide breed. The result, Hartley said, is degraded quality and a product that can vary as regards muscle size and marbling, among other factors.
At A&P, Premium Gold Angus has been rolled out in a full line of cuts, including grinds, roasts and steaks. It will complement a line of wagyu grinds that A&P has already launched. Wagyu is the breed of cattle Kobe beef comes from, and Clarence Oliver, senior director of meat and seafood at A&P, told Food Retailing Today that the supermarket’s wagyu ground beef offers a taste and texture that provides a hamburger-eating experience once available only in upscale restaurants. Similarly, Oliver said, Premium Gold Angus delivers a level of quality that consumers want on those occasions when steak is on the home menu. “We want to make the experience of going to the meat counter special,” he said, adding that A&P had decided that its service meat could facilitate relationship building, which the supermarket operator wants to establish through customer interactions at its Fresh stores.
Sal Baio, A&P’s vp of Fresh, said experience is the key. In developing the Fresh store format, one that A&P has been refining for several years, Baio asserted that the goal is to become the go-to supermarket for food fanatical Northeasterners. “We’re trying to make the experience a little different…” he said. “People in the Northeast love good food. We have great consumers to sell great product to.”
Hooker names upholstery head
MARTINSVILLE, Va. Hooker Furniture has appointed Alan Cole to the new position of evp of upholstery, in which he will oversee the operations of Hooker Furniture subsidiaries Bradington-Young and Sam Moore Furniture.
In addition to overseeing the operations of Sam Moore and Bradington-Young, Cole will help develop further growth plans for Hooker’s imported accent chair product line. He also will be involved in strategic planning for HFC and will oversee any future acquisitions of upholstered furniture operations.
Cole, who has held senior executive positions at leading upholstered furniture companies including Broyhill, Berkline and Schnadig, “has the expertise in upholstery that uniquely qualifies him to help us realize one of our strategic objectives, which is to become a more important and complete upholstered furniture resource,” said Paul Toms Jr., chairman, ceo and president of Hooker Furniture.
Best Buy selects new ad agency
MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy announced Thursday that it has chosen BBDO New York as its advertising agency for the Best Buy brand. The selection of BBDO follows a multi-month-long review for the Best Buy brand account, which was previously handled internally.
“We believe this partnership with BBDO New York will enable us to support the company’s aggressive growth goals and to build and enhance our capabilities,” said Ruby Anik, Best Buy’s senior vp of marketing communications. “We are excited to leverage BBDO’s creative expertise, brand experience and spirit of collaboration in further differentiating Best Buy as the consumer’s trusted guide to technology solutions.”
BBDO New York’s scope of work will include account planning, ad strategy and execution, and media and consumer connection planning. Estimated billings, as measured by media spending, will be $170 to $200 million. The firm will begin work immediately on internally-focused projects supporting Best Buy’s brand position.
In addition, Best Buy will expand its relationship with Crispin, Porter + Bogusky beyond Geek Squad to partner on business development and in-store activation opportunities for the Best Buy brand.