ALTUS, Okla. — In a move aimed at supporting local ranchers while offering shoppers a new selection of premium beef products, United Supermarkets of Oklahoma last week began rolling out Certified Hereford Beef at its 26 locations throughout the state.
“For decades, we have partnered with Oklahoma beef producers to support their industry,” Ken Gracey, United Supermarkets' meat operations director, said in a statement. “We are honored to team up with Hereford cattle ranchers across the state to give our customers an outstanding product and celebrate the good things Oklahoma has to offer.”
Store fliers last week featured a four-page ad, accented with black-and-white photos of Hereford cattle and the tag line “Taste Tradition. We are raising the bar. Again.”
Several United locations will host special events during this week's official launch, including outdoor grilling and sampling, visits from local Hereford ranchers and beef producers, and a fund-raiser for the Ponca City, Okla., Future Farmers of America chapter.
“We're going to have some Hereford producers outside grilling and talking to people — have tables set up so that [customers] can meet them and they can talk about what they do,” Shonda Anderson, spokeswoman for Certified Hereford Beef, told SN.
“Later on, we're going to try to actually put some Hereford producers in the stores to do demos and talk to customers,” Anderson added. “It's going to give a really good jump to our Oklahoma Hereford producers, and the Oklahoma Hereford Association itself. We're trying to forge relationships and really get people involved from both the consumer and the producer end.”
Oklahoma is one of the leading producers of Hereford beef, and Anderson noted that the promotion is not only a response to trends such as growing support for local agriculture, but also to consumers' desire for quality and an understanding of where their beef is sourced.
Like other purebred cattle ranchers, Hereford producers rely on rigorous tracking and animal ID programs.
“These Hereford breeders obviously take pride in producing a great-tasting steak,” Gracey said. “It's not just about the money to them. That shows integrity, and I don't think we are any different. At United Supermarkets, we take pride in what we do every day. That's pretty rare nowadays, but it's what makes us special, and it's what makes this a great place to work and shop.”