CARTERET, N.J. -- Pathmark Stores here is one of an increasing number of retailers who are embarking on a chainwide program that will make the meat case more consumer friendly by grouping beef products according to cooking method, said officials.
The initiative follows a successful seven-store test of the Meat Case Simplification program developed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Chicago. It will be rolled out to all 150 Pathmark units on the Fourth of July.
"It's to make the consumer shopping experience a lot easier when they go to the meat department," said Robert DiPisa, category manager of the meat division. "The biggest confusion right now is in the meat section."
Presently, the cases are set around the cut of meat, using names that might be more familiar to butchers or professional cooks, not consumers, said DePisa.
"We want [the names to reflect] the way they shop," he explained. "They shop like they're preparing a meal, whether they want a roast, a broiler or a saute. This is the way the cases will be set up."
The new sections will be highlighted by a 7- by 11-inch sign that includes the name of the category as well as a picture of the cut, and color-coordinated shelf strips.
For example, red indicates items best suited to broiling and grilling, yellow denotes saute cuts and brown promotes items good for braising.
Each color will also correspond with on-pack labels found on the products. The three-sided labels carry an abundance of information pertaining to cooking, refrigerated and frozen shelf life at home, and care and preparation of leftovers.
"There is a need for [this information], because of the lack of cooking knowledge," said DiPisa.
Customers will be alerted to the reorganization both in-store and in circulars. The retailer is also in the process of educating its employees about the program.
"We're going to each individual marketing area, where a trainer is going to go over the program and communicate how it's set up with labels and the signs," he said, adding that the trial run received high marks.
"We're getting excellent feedback from customers," he said.
DiPisa said it is hoped the initiative will boost sales of back-of-the-line items, like roasts, which customers often order in restaurants, when someone else is cooking -- but rarely prepare at home.
"We feel that [the reset] is the way we are going to get an uplift in the roast category," he said of the rumps, eye- and top-rounds and pot roasts. "People don't know the difference between pot roast and roast beef."