JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie launched a comprehensive overhaul of its signature WD Brand beef with a new name, graphics, informative labels and a toll-free consumer hotline.
The updated line, called WD Brand Prestige Beef, will be rolled out to all 1,070 stores in the chain, according to Mickey Clerc, spokesman for the retailer. Prestige items include all steaks, chops and roasts -- ground and cubed beef are not included.
"It's a modernization," Clerc told SN. "We have not changed the standards for our beef; we have an excellent beef reputation and have been known as 'The Beef People.' But we've just done a little face-lifting and have given it a fresher look that's more contemporary."
The initiative will focus on promoting the brand's four primary attributes: All beef is labeled USDA Choice, the highest quality level available at the retail store level; all cattle are grain-fed; all cuts are naturally aged; and Winn-Dixie meatcutters hand-cut the beef for one-eighth trim and a ribbon of marbling, Clerc said.
To support the revamped line, the retailer has added support in the form of more concise labeling information, using color-coding to distinguish different cuts and cooking methods. Clerc said Winn-Dixie has adopted the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's "Beef Made Easy" program that arranges self-service cases by cut and cooking method. Under the new line, the retailer has inserted some of its own ideas.
"We've been working with them, but we have always included cooking information, like preparation methods," he said. Safe-handling instructions and beef-cooking temperatures are also part of the information consumers are given.
Those customers wishing for more information -- either on the cut itself, beef-related health information or food safety -- can now call the new "What's Cookin' Hotline." Here, direct customer inquiries are addressed by a live representative familiar with the Prestige line. A visit to Winn-Dixie's Web site found a whole section devoted to the new line, including more information on food safety, cooking methods and a description of the USDA grades and what they mean.
The retailer timed the introduction of the premium label to coincide with American Heart Month, observed throughout February. Winn-Dixie's literature notes that many cuts in the Prestige line, particularly the loin and round, are the leanest cuts available to shoppers who eat beef and who are interested in maintaining a healthy diet.