Familiar cuts of meat at the grocery store may soon look not-so-familiar -- at least in name.
The beef and pork industries got together and are re-naming more than 350 cuts of meats, they say, to make identifying the cuts more "consumer-friendly."
This announcement has been marinating for some time now. The National Pork Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association teamed up to conduct research about this over the course of a year and a half. They said it showed some consumers get confused by the different names for similar cuts of meat.
Their results prompted this change in what's called Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, a voluntary system but one the majority of US food retailers use.
Under the changes, according to a news release on the National Pork Board's website, "several cuts of pork will now match the names for similar beef cuts for easier consumer identification and preparation."
Those include change "loin chop" to "pork porterhouse chop," "top loin chop" to "pork New York chop" and "rib chop" to "pork ribeye chop."
However, not everybody is on board with this.
At his Dubuque butcher shop Friday afternoon, Jeff Cremer prepared a chuck roast for longtime customer Sandy Harry.
"He knows I don't go anywhere else to buy my meat but here," she said.
As a third-generation butcher, Cremer said it's not words on a label that sell meat.
"My customers typically are people who know what they like, come in specifically for certain items and they're not going to be swayed by some new marketing campaign by the beef industry or the pork industry," Cremer said.
When the National Pork Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association announced they're changing the long-standard names of more than 350 cuts of meat, Cremer said he's not biting.
"It'll be confusing for the customer and it will be frustrating for the meat department," Cremer said.
On the National Pork Board website, its president Conley Nelson said, "the new names will help change the way consumers and retailers talk about pork-- but more importantly, the simpler names will help clear up confusion that consumers currently experience at the meat case, helping to move more pork in the long-term."
Harry said the new names, however, will just confuse customers.
"It's been a long time that we've been ordering it this way. Why would they have to change it?" she said. "It's not right. No. Uh-uh."
The two meat industry groups hope the move will boost sales coming out of the recession, which Cremer admits have been noticeably sluggish the past few years.
The pork and beef industries are "going to throw lots of money at this, and it's probably going to be successful in the overall big-box picture, but, for us, it probably won't be much of a change," Cremer said, adding he won't be changing labels on his meat cuts because of this industry shift.
Again, while stores aren't required to go by these new naming standards, many do.
The pork and beef industries said consumers can expect to see changes as this warm-weather grilling season heats up.
With these new retail names, shoppers will also see on the label what part of the animal's body the cut is from. There will also be recommended cooking instructions on the label.
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