ADDISON, Ill. -- Seeking to turn its Hispanic produce shoppers into loyal meat buyers, Caputo's Fresh Markets here has started selling Mexican beef.
The SuKarne (which means "Your Beef") brand of rib, porterhouse and other beef cuts is being offered in all four Caputo's locations.
The line sells for $3.99 to $5.99 per pound, depending on the cut. SuKarne rib steaks were promoted over Labor Day weekend at $2.99 a pound, a $1 savings from the regular $3.99 retail.
Caputo's was eager to align itself with one of Mexico's most popular beef brands, said Wally Locke, Caputo's meat director.
The brand is selling well, which Locke attributes to its great taste and attractive price points. SuKarne is priced comparably to American beef carrying the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Select grade.
While plenty of Hispanics buy its fruits and vegetables, Caputo's wants more to visit its meat department.
Dale Ohman, Caputo's business development manager, noted that Hispanics often have higher basket rings, because they shop with children and grandparents.
Having a well-rounded product assortment is important, because Hispanics don't always voice their wants and needs, said Ohman.
"Hispanics are patient people who don't complain," he said. "But if they're not happy, they simply won't come back."
What interested Caputo's about SuKarne is that the brand is attractive to both Hispanic and general-market shoppers.
"This is a high-quality product that provides a fantastic value for anyone, not just Hispanics," Locke told SN.
Caputo's learned of SuKarne from its distributor, Amigos Foods, Chicago. Amigos Foods distributes SuKarne to about 200 Midwest retail stores, according to Max Hurtado, the company's president and chief executive officer. Hurtado declined to name the retailers.
Hurtado said both Hispanic and non-Hispanic retailers are interested in the brand because it's less expensive than American beef, tastes good and is lean meat.
Rather, SuKarne is produced from grain-fed cattle whose average age is 23 months, according to Arturo Villarreal, general manager, Viz Cattle Corp., Rancho Dominguez, Calif., producer of SuKarne. Because of the cattle's young age, the meat is juicer and produces thicker portions, Villarreal said.
USDA inspected and approved, SuKarne is available in boneless, bone-in and marinated cuts, including rib-eye steak, porterhouse steak and seasoned skirt steak.
While the brand has been available in California and Arizona since 1995, Viz Cattle recently expanded to the Midwest and parts of the East Coast, including New York. Costco is among the retailers that now sell it.