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Harris Teeter switches to Boar's Head

lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 12:31 PM

I recently visited the Stonecrest Harris Teeter in Charlotte and was shocked to see red, black & yellow balloons everywhere and people in black aprons scurrying about. A large sign hung over the deli counter announcing their switch to Boar's Head meats & cheeses. I didn't think much about it, after all I'm not a loyal Dietz & Watson customer. I walked up to the counter and ordered some sliced Virginia ham and some Lebanon bologna. It's then that I noticed that the employee pulled out of the glass cabinet Boar's Head Lebanon bologna!!!! I said, oh no, I'd like the Seltzer's Lebanon bologna. He apologized and said that they no longer carried that brand. "WHAT?" I scanned the cabinet and sure enough all specialty brands were gone and the only choice was no choice at all. Boar's Head or nothing.

I went back today and spoke w/ the department manager who advised that all HT's would eventually be making the switch to strictly Boar's Head meats & cheeses and HT signed a contract that they would not carry and other brands.

This is awful. :(

  1. f
    fourunder Jun 29, 2009 12:45 PM

    Is Seltzer's a premium meats provision company? Generally speaking, Boar's Head brand provisions are considered top dog in the Northeast and it's not unusual for their cold cuts to be priced at $9.99 or higher.....crazy if you ask me. I would however be annoyed and disappointed if my local store completely discontinued any quality brand of meat and cheese provisions, normally priced much cheaper, in favor a any brand that was more expensive and rarely would go on sale at more attractive prices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fourunder
      brentk Jun 29, 2009 02:14 PM

      Seltzer's Lebanon bologna is considered to be THE brand in Pennsylvania, which, of course, is the heart of Lebanon bologna country. In Pennsylania, you can get it sweet or regular, but I have never seen sweet Lebanon bologna outside of that state.

      Whenever I am in PA, I always get a couple of pounds of Seltzer's sweet Lebanon bologna and half of it disappears before the car hits the North Carolina state line. A regional treat is to spread some cream cheese on it and roll it up.

      1. re: brentk
        lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 04:33 PM

        Brentk, you are SO speaking my language. You're right, I haven't found sweet outside of PA. Just as you had mentioned though, as soon as I left Bi-LO with my lb. of Lebanon bologna I was driving down Rea Rd eating a folded up piece of bologna. We always referred to the sweet Lebanon bologna as summer bologna (or summer sausage).

        The point had little to do with premium meats, but rather specialty meats & cheeses. In other words, Seltzer's is the preferred brand for Lebanon bologna, but isn't a high end purchase. Does that make sense?

    2. goodhealthgourmet Jun 29, 2009 12:47 PM

      Lynn, have you ever tried anything from Boar's Head? i don't have a point for comparison because i've never had D&W, but BH is quality product. they don't add any nasty fillers or unnecessary artificial crap to their meats & cheeses, and they have a really good variety of products.

      BTW, when you say they "switched," does that mean they never carried BH at your store before now? because years ago when i was living in ATL, my local Harris Teeter carried the full BH line at the deli counter.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 04:36 PM

        Yes, I've tried their VA ham recently, and its fine. My point was that they ONLY carry BH now (at least at my store... and soon to be all stores). The BH Lebanon bologna was beyond gross.

        Yea, I've never seen BH at any of the Charlotte area HT's. So, around these parts its new, as far as I know. But I don't have a problem with BH. But to eliminate all other brands for BH disturbs me. I want imported prosciutto, Seltzer's Lebanon bologna, Alpine Lace Swiss, etc.

      2. danna Jun 29, 2009 12:59 PM

        Boar's Head has great PR. It amazes me when I see restaurants advertising the stuff. It's fair. I'll eat some of it if I have to, but it doesn't compare to the brands you can get at Whole Foods. A few of their products are nitrite- free, but most of them do contain nitrites.

        Lack of choice sucks, i feel for you. There was an aritcle in WSJ last week saying we can expect fewer product choices as stores try to maintain some profit during the downturn.

        2 Replies
        1. re: danna
          goodhealthgourmet Jun 29, 2009 02:09 PM

          Boar's Head does have several varieties of nitrate- and nitrite-free turkey, chicken, ham and roast beef. it just depends on which ones a particular store carries. i personally think it's the best store-bought alternative to Applegate Farms products, which can be difficult to find outside of WFM & health food stores.

          but that's just MHO.

          1. re: danna
            lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 04:37 PM

            You said it well, danna, "lack of choice sucks". Amen.

          2. r
            rockycat Jun 29, 2009 01:09 PM

            Well, I for one am happy to see the change. I've gotten some pretty unpleasant stuff from all my local HT's and am looking forward to the Boar's Head upgrade. Even my 7-year-old complained about the mushy turkey at HT this past weekend. And the Muenster cheese they've been carrying has been just about the nastiest tasting sliced cheese I've ever had.

            There seems to be some kind of anti-Boar's Head backlash on CH. Fine with me if you think it's cool to snub Boar's Head. It beats the tar out of D&W and Thumman's and I sure don't want to hear anyone calling me crazy for paying Boar's Head prices when they're buying at Whole Paychecks, for Pete's sake.

            Way to go, HT!

            9 Replies
            1. re: rockycat
              lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 04:39 PM

              I have no problem with BH. I don't care that they switched from D&W to BH. My complaint is that they contracted w/ BH to not carry any other brands also. No imported prosciutto, no Alpine Lace Swiss, no Lebanon bolgna from Lebanon PA.

              As danna put it: no choice.

              1. re: rockycat
                Suzy Q Jun 29, 2009 04:39 PM

                Word, word, word. Couldn't agree more, rockycat. I shop at HT every so often, but generally avoided it because their cold cuts sucked. The D&W was worse than Oscar Meyer. My hub will only eat Boar's Head, so thankfully we've had another grocery that stocks it, but it's always good to have HT as an option.

                I also have to agree that no one shopping at Whole Foods can really have much of a leg to stand on when complaining about the prices of Boar's Head. Good grief.

                1. re: Suzy Q
                  lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 04:42 PM

                  Their Seltzer's Lebanon bolgna was AWESOME. LOL

                  1. re: lynnlato
                    Suzy Q Jun 29, 2009 04:44 PM

                    Sounds like I've missed out on something good! I didn't even know what Lebanon bologna was until reading this thread. We didn't get much of that growing up in Charleston - I think "gourmet" was Oscar Meyer instead of the store brand when I was a kid.

                    1. re: Suzy Q
                      lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 05:50 PM

                      Ha! Lebanon bologna is to PA folks what livermush is to NC folks. Kind of like scrapple vs. country sausage too. :)

                      I don't know that you've missed on on anything extra special. It's just a thing I thought was great from back home. I'm just whining. I thought it was great that Lebanon bologna was easy to come by in these parts - and now my regular grocer doesn't carry it (I wish we had a Whole Foods).

                  2. re: Suzy Q
                    danna Jun 30, 2009 05:06 AM

                    where do you and Rockycat see someone shopping at WF and complaining about Boar's Head prices?

                  3. re: rockycat
                    buddyboyII Oct 26, 2010 06:43 PM

                    I wouldnt say all these people are bashing BH. It sound like they were bashing Harris Teeters. And as far as quality goes. BH is not the best. They have a pretty label for sure, but Thumann's meat quality surpasses BH. Proof is in the puddin http://www.my411cafe.com/thumanns/bud...

                    1. re: buddyboyII
                      chazzer Oct 27, 2010 06:53 AM

                      That is a comparison of nutritional factors, ie who has lower sodium , and not who has best taste, texture etc. It is not a judge of quality.

                      I also noticed that your only posts on Chow, except for one, are attacking BH. The one remaining post you indicate that you are a delivery person.

                      Do you deliver for a competing brand?

                      1. re: chazzer
                        rockycat Oct 27, 2010 07:09 AM

                        <Do you deliver for a competing brand?>

                        Yes, apparently buddyboyll does. The site you visited is run by buddyboy who clearly states that he is a distributor for Thumann's. So it sounds as if buddyboy has a very personal interest in HT's switchover to BH.

                  4. t
                    thefluffyturtle Jun 29, 2009 01:38 PM

                    Boar's Head has ONE thing that I like and that's their oven roasted chicken. The rest of it you can have. The majority of PUBLIX in FLA have switched to all Boar's Head products.
                    Lynn, do you have an INGLE'S in Charlotte?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: thefluffyturtle
                      lynnlato Jun 29, 2009 04:39 PM

                      No Ingle's, fluffyturtle (nice name, btw). What's Ingle's?

                    2. s
                      sweettater Jun 29, 2009 09:08 PM

                      Ingle's is a grocery store (no location in Charlotte, NC). Closest Ingles to Charlotte would be in Albemarle (most are located in the NC mountain region - there is a nice one just down the road from Lake Lure).

                      To the OP - I know it's probably not the same as having it at HT anymore, but you can order directly from Seltzer, (or) they also state that their meats are carried at Food Lion.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: sweettater
                        lynnlato Jun 30, 2009 06:27 AM

                        Thanks, sweettater. They also have it at Bi-Lo, which is where I got it yesterday.

                        1. re: lynnlato
                          brentk Jun 30, 2009 06:41 AM

                          You haven't seen sweet Lebanon bologna anywhere in NC, have you?

                          1. re: brentk
                            bbqme Jun 30, 2009 08:11 AM

                            Southern Season in Chapel Hill usually has both the sweet and vinegar versions of Seltzer's lebanon bologna. They gave me the sweet version by mistake one time and I didn't care for it-- but the vinegar version, yum!

                            1. re: bbqme
                              brentk Jun 30, 2009 09:02 AM

                              Good to know. At least you can have choice in Chapel Hill.

                              I have never heard of the regular Lebanon bologna referred to as "vinegar." Is that what they call it at Southern Season. Sounds like a North Carolina colloquialism.

                              In fact a quick peek at Seltzer's website shows that they actually have seven varieties. Who knew?

                              1. re: brentk
                                lynnlato Jun 30, 2009 11:48 AM

                                I haven't seen the sweet anywhere around CLT. I never heard of the vinegar description either. Hmmmm.

                                Seven varieties? Wow, I had no idea.

                                1. re: lynnlato
                                  JustInUpstate Nov 4, 2010 09:46 PM

                                  I have purchased Seltzer's sweet bologna in the Greenville, SC, area for approximately 5 years now. Happy Cow Creamery has it in stock, along with several other PA Dutch food products. We also have the regular lebanon bologna at an Ingles supermarket in Powdersville (a Greenville suburb). My absolute favorite type is their double smoked sweet, which I have not seen available outside PA.

                                  I am very familiar with Seltzer's and several other PA brands thanks to some of my family living near Harrisburg. One of my favorite places to stock up in that area is Karns Quality Foods' outstanding meat market in Boiling Springs, PA. Nothing fancy to look at, but a great place to purchase quality meats at reasonable prices.

                      2. r
                        rockycat Jun 30, 2009 10:10 AM

                        I don't see where the "choice" has disappeared. As a shopper, you have the choice to shop at any grocery store you like. If you don't like what HT carries, shop elsewhere. Unless, of course, you're unfortunate enough to live in a part of NC that only has Food Lion. In that case, I feel your pain.

                        HT has a choice also, especially in this economy. They can either make a profit or they can go out of business. In good times, supermarkets usually work on a 1 or 2% margin. Now that things are tougher and stores are forced to offer triple coupons and super doubles and all kinds of promotions that come out of their pockets, not the manufacturers', any little edge they can get is needed. If Boar's Head made them that good an offer, then HT made a good business decision.

                        So just why is there no choice here?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: rockycat
                          DigitalVelvet Jun 30, 2009 11:20 AM

                          Gee... this seems to have touched a nerve, or three! I'm in agreement with RockyCat... from the earlier post, that I see this as a positive development. I am in a unique situation where the three closest grocery stores to my home are all Harris Teeters. To go elsewhere is inconvenient. It's a good thing I actually like Harris Teeter.

                          Boar's Head has been my preferred brand for years... although I don't hold a grudge against Dietz & Watson. I do kind of feel it's anti-competitive for BH to lock out other brands, but it is called "free enterprise." If I didn't like the new arrangement, I wouldn't blame BH for proposing the terms, I would be mad at HT for agreeing to them.

                          1. re: rockycat
                            lynnlato Jun 30, 2009 11:56 AM

                            I perceive it as a lack of choice. I am surrounded by HT who, for the most part, monopolize the market around my area of town. Now that they carry only one brand, when they previously carried many different brands, I have no choice when I shop at HT. That, my friend, is what I am talking about.


                            1. re: lynnlato
                              cameronTea Jun 30, 2009 01:07 PM

                              I live in Virginia and have a HT, Farm Fresh & Bloom as our local grocers. I haven't been to HT since they changed brands. However, our Farm Fresh has always carried Boars Head and stocks a few other brands as well. It is still 90% BH compared to the other choices though.

                              1. re: DigitalVelvet
                                deliman Jun 30, 2009 08:15 PM

                                Having been in the deli busines for 25yrs or so and working mostly in the ny market selling BH, what HT is doing is wrong if they are locking out other companies from selling in the deli dept.Their ideology is being the best and having the customer pay the price. Even in ny we sold a # 2 ham or turkey because not everyone can afford BH. They do a great PR job the best in the industry but the consumer pays. They do make a great product. Although some might still have MSG!

                            2. lynnlato Jul 3, 2009 02:09 PM


                              I had emailed Harris Teeter last week and voiced my disappointment. I didn't ask for anything, just wanted to let them know that I thought they should carry a few specialty brands in addition to the Boars Head.

                              I received a response from them today advising that they notified the fresh foods manager at my local HT to order a case of the Selzers Lebanon Bologna and they will keep it on hand for me. They won't display it or advertise it, but I should tell the deli employee that it is in the back and they will retrieve it and slice it to order.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: lynnlato
                                goodhealthgourmet Jul 3, 2009 06:06 PM

                                now THAT'S what i call good customer service! glad it worked out for you. BTW, when i stopped at a local A&P yesterday and wandered past the deli counter i noticed that BH was the *only* brand they had - it made me think of you, and this thread.

                                1. re: lynnlato
                                  Jen76 Jul 3, 2009 07:47 PM

                                  That's awesome. Would you believe I can get Selzer's Lebanon bologna here in Phoenix? It's the only brand I would buy too. The other brands I've tried are just gross. I can only find it prepackaged at Fry's (Kroger) stores - and not all of them at that - but it is a favorite of ours. I would call it high-end for our neck of the desert though. Probably shipping costs. It's like $8 or $9 a pound here.

                                  1. re: Jen76
                                    lynnlato Jul 4, 2009 05:49 PM

                                    Yes, they certainly are good listeners at HT! GHG, I cannot believe they still have A&P's! Wow, talk about a blast from the past.

                                    Seltzers in Phoenix? Get out of town!? That rocks!

                                2. b
                                  buddyboyII Oct 26, 2010 07:02 PM

                                  Boar's Head is ok. It doesn't blow other premium brands away except in price, marketing, and buy outs. Basically what happened is... BH offered Harris teeters 10s of thousands of dollars to cut out the competition. I would bet my bottom dollar that BH offered between 10k and 50k for each store. Harris did not just roll over and thank god that BH finally arrived. Harris basically made a deal with the devil. thats all that happened. However if you want choice just make sure each time you go in to the store ask for another brand. Boars Head gets their way because their commercials tell people to ask for their brand. And guess what people do?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: buddyboyII
                                    rockycat Oct 27, 2010 06:32 AM

                                    Baaaa. So you really think we're all just dumb sheep blindly doing whatever the nice man on TV says we should do? That only applies to political ads, silly.

                                    Supermarket margins are slim. HT wouldn't carry the brand if they didn't think the customers would buy it. And, from my very informal surveys while waitng in line at the deli counter, the workers nearly always ask which brand the customer wants, HT or BH. And nearly every last time the customer specifies BH.

                                    We can all vote with our feet. If you don't like BH, shop somewhere else. That's what I did before HT carried BH. I went to Lowe's specifically to buy the BH. Nobody's forcing you to buy anything you don't want to.

                                    And HT does still carry some specialty non-BH items. The one at Stonehenge at least definitely has Lebanon Bologna and, IIRC, Taylor pork roll.

                                    The store is in business to make money. If they're not carrying what most of the customers want, they're not making any money. If you're not "most of the customers," well, that's why specialty markets exist.

                                    1. re: rockycat
                                      ospreycove Oct 27, 2010 06:44 AM

                                      Hey, Boar's Head produces quality products, and has a high powered marketing/Consumer Awareness package to push their products. To the point of a friend of mine said "No I can't go to the tavern tonight.We are having Boars Head!!"

                                      1. re: rockycat
                                        lynnlato Oct 27, 2010 07:11 AM

                                        We were able to get our local HT to carry Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna now. We had to repeatedly ask for it because after they switched to BH that was the only brand they carried. But many persistent PA'ers, I guess, persuaded them that the only good lebanon bologna is from PA. ;-)

                                        All of the grocery stores close to me carry BH now - they've completely monopolized the local lunch meat market here. People buy it because it's what is in the deli cases around here, and folks are too busy, understandably, to be concerned with complaining about deli choices. BH has a great marketing team too. It would be nice to have more choice is my only complaint.

                                      2. re: buddyboyII
                                        ospreycove Oct 29, 2010 04:54 AM

                                        It all gets down to "sales per square foot". If BH doesn't yield the required sales, margins, and revenues guess what, after the initial contract period they will be out; but don't expect that to happen as BH is a leader in retail sales in the Deli Dept.

                                        1. re: ospreycove
                                          hotdoglover Oct 31, 2010 06:07 AM

                                          Boars Head is very good. It's what I eat most often because it's what my wife buys. It's up to the individual store what to carry and what to sell. Boars Head does not like it when there are competing brands like Thumann's or Dietz and Watson available at the same store. Personally I think Thumann's is far superior to Boars Head and not just because of health reasons stated in buddyboy's link. It's just higher quality and tastes better. Boars Head does not even make all of their meat products but contracts it out. I know of two former Boars Head employees who now work for Thumann's and claim there is no comparison. Thumann's is much better. You will not find a better German style beef/pork frankfurter anywhere. And I've sampled dozens from all over including German butcher shops and Pork stores.

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