Weis Goes Local for Beef

Discussion
May 16, 2008

By George Anderson

The “go local” movement, it seems clear, is catching on with consumers across the country. For most merchants, going local has meant sourcing produce from nearby farms but now Weis Markets is taking the next step and buying beef from Angus producers in its home state of Pennsylvania.

Weis introduced its new Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef program at a press event attended by company executives, Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff and representatives of the state’s beef council and Angus producers.

“Pennsylvania has a vibrant agricultural economy known for its quality. Last year alone, we purchased more than 19 million pounds of produce from local Pennsylvania producers,” said Norman Rich, Weis’ CEO. “Our Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef is the logical extension of our commitment to buying and selling Pennsylvania’s best products. We are proud to be the first supermarket company in the country to offer a local beef program.”

Weis’ Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef is grain fed and aged a minimum of 20 days. The grocer will offer a full line of roasts, steaks, tenderloins and ground beef in 23 of its 125 stores in Pennsylvania.

Discussion Questions: How successful do you think Weis Markets will be with its Pennsylvania Proud Choice Angus Beef program? Will other grocers start to promote the local angle in categories beyond produce? What categories do you think have the greatest potential to build on the “buy local” movement?

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6 Comments on "Weis Goes Local for Beef"


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David Livingston
Guest
14 years 13 days ago

I was in Stew Leonard’s recently. In the meat department they show a video of Stew riding around on his ranch in Montana claiming their beef comes from this ranch. I’m sure some of their beef actually does. Whether is does or doesn’t, I was impressed by the video.

Weis could do something similar. I’m no expert on this but I would guess the local beef sold would just be a fraction of the total beef sold in their stores. Still a good idea. However having your beef come from a ranch in Montana with a company exec riding on a horse sounds more appealing than coming from a beef farm in Pennsylvania.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
14 years 13 days ago

They will be successful if they focus on execution. Packaging, education, marketing, promotion and available stock. This is a growing trend and supermarkets would be wise to join in instead of trying to fight it. What farmer wouldn’t rather sell their fresh grown produce to a local market than sit at a roadside table all day long? Supermarkets should add a local buyer per store that scours the area for fresh produce, local canned products, beef, chicken, fish, etc. and works with the local farms to deliver product to enhance availability and quality of delivery. Wal-Mart has already started working with local farms. This would give them a competitive edge and would be better yet if the farms are certified organic!

Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
14 years 13 days ago

Great idea. If you have local access and it adds value in the minds of consumers, it makes perfect sense.

Warren Thayer
Guest
14 years 13 days ago

Good idea that should resonate with the Weis shopper. But I have to add a personal aside on this “buying local.” I grew up on a dairy farm, and whenever one of our cows was done as a milker and took “the long walk,” I was very upset. I’d go vegetarian for a week for fear of eating my old friend. My Dad would tell me that all the cows were shipped far away, so there was no danger. But I wouldn’t eat any meat unless I could somehow be assured it came from a farm far, far away. I sure didn’t want any part of buying local, for my own reasons!

Anne Howe
Guest
14 years 13 days ago

Local meat options are a wonderful thing. My trips to the farmer’s market, even in the winter, include a stop at the Otto’s chicken trailer, which rolls in from the Irish Hills area in lower Michigan (50 miles from the market) with organic grain-fed chicken that is out of this world in flavor. It’s a treat to eat and only slightly more expensive. It is the only chicken we will buy. Sorry Tyson and Perdue.

Buying this at Meijer or Kroger would be convenient, and if it’s good for Otto’s business that’s good for me. I would probably eat it more often if I could pick it up on the way home from work. Go Local and support your home state whenever possible!

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 11 days ago

Weis got good publicity for its Pennsylvania beef. If a competitor sells beef for 10 cents less, Weis won’t find it easy to compete if the quality is the same. Most supermarket shoppers are value-driven. The majority won’t pay more for the same quality, and Weis’ audience is the broad middle, not a select minority, like Whole Foods’ audience.

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