Beef once reserved for fine restaurant dining is giving home cooks a way to level up family dinner. Grocers, like ShopRite in New Jersey and neighboring states, are happy to oblige.

ShopRite introduced Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime in 2018. At first, shoppers favored the classic steaks: ribeye, N.Y. strip, tenderloin and T-bone.

Fast forward two years and ShopRite added flank and skirt steaks and briskets. They sold well, so bottom and inside rounds, chuck rolls and burgers came next, reaching 15 total SKUs.

Sales continue to grow.

“It really helps our business generate extra sales and satisfy our customers,” says Mark Salerno, meat merchandiser/operations supervisor at Wakefern Food Corp., the cooperative buying group for ShopRite and member grocers.

Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime offerings expanded from the service case to include self-service for customers to easily pick up their preferred cuts each day. Circulars offer a prime option alongside the same Certified Angus Beef ® cut and a low-cost USDA Choice option, allowing customers to choose a price point.

“They are trading up to Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime because the quality is so good and the marbling is so good,” Salerno says. “We know they’re getting a consistent eating experience and they’ll come back to our stores.”

Shoppers appreciate ShopRite’s service, too. They want a butcher behind the counter to cut their beef fresh each day and share cooking tips: a relationship built on trust.

Jason DeLillo, ShopRite’s senior category manager and fresh beef buyer, says there’s something intimate about Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime.

“It’s a level of quality that follows from the grower to the packer to the retailer and the consumer sees that,” he says. “We need to find a way to continue growing that brand and have more variety available to us.”

In five years, increased availability allowed for a 135% gain in the brand’s prime sales to 37.3 million pounds this year. Retail sales, including chuck and round cuts, accounted for much of the gain. Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime also continues to help chefs elevate dining experiences.

Demand from home cooks and chefs signals the need for more prime-grade cattle and family ranchers are listening. In 2015, USDA Prime beef represented 2% of all federally graded beef. Today, it’s 9% and growing. Home cooks and chefs are ready to serve it for dinner.

By giving shoppers traditional and Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime, we know they’re going to get a consistent eating experience and they’ll come back to our stores.

Mark Salerno

Wakefern Food Corp.

Read more stories from the 2021 Brand Update here.