Beef and pork names have changed

Posted on Aug 29, 2013
The pork and beef industries have retooled more than 350 names of meat cuts, ostensibly to give them more sizzle and consumer appeal. The move has evoked mixed feelings from the farm community, particularly those riled about eliminating the “pork chop” in favor of traditional beef names such as “porterhouse,” “ribeye” and “sirloin.”

Now, if you ask for a ribeye, the reply might be “beef or pork?”

But that may not be happening often because it doesn’t appear that many consumers are aware of the changes, say KFB leaders and staff.

“There are not many people who know about this,” said KFB Commodity Division Director Mike Tobin. “When they find out they ask about the reasoning for the change.”

According to various reports, the biggest objection is having the same names on beef and pork cuts.

The changes emerged after two years of consumer research, which found that the labels on packages of fresh cuts of pork and beef are confusing to shoppers, said Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for the National Pork Board.

A stroll down the meat aisle had become baffling for shoppers looking for a steak. When they would see packages of "butler steak" or "beef shoulder top blade steak, boneless, flat iron" - they would walk away with an empty cart, said Trevor Amen, director of market intelligence for the Beef Checkoff Program.

So the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, with the blessing of officials with USDA, got the nod to update the Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, or URMIS. Though the URMIS system is voluntary, a majority of U.S. food retailers use it.

The  "pork chop" is gone. Instead, grocery retailers may be stocking stacks of "porterhouse chops," "ribeye chops" and "New York chops." The pork butt - which actually comes from shoulder meat – is now called a Boston roast.

"One of our biggest challenges has been the general belief among consumers that a pork chop is a pork chop," said Fleming. "But not all pork chops are equal, and not all pork chops are priced equally."

In the beef aisle, a boneless shoulder top blade steak has become a flatiron steak, a beef under blade boneless steak is now a Denver Steak. Not all names in the meat counter have changed; ground beef is still ground beef

The new retail names also come with new labels for retail packages, which tell consumers what part of the animal's body the cut comes from, as well as include suggested cooking instructions.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Beef Checkoff Program, KFB, Mike Tobin, National Pork Board, Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards, USDA