Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Feb 6, 2010 08:02 AM

Dietz & Watson vs. Boar's Head Brands

1. Do these companies have exclusivity agreements with retailers, so that retailers cannot sell the competitor's product? It looks like Boar's head requires exclusivity, but Dietz & Watson does not -- and seeks to open up the market for consumer choice.

2. There was a recent dispute down in Florida involving Boar's Head, and non-Publix markets (Publix sells Boar's head exclusively. D&W wants Publix to also sell its products). It involved, at a minimum, Boar's Head's trucks blocking parking lots, etc.
""Mr. Cook reported: “the Sarasota-based company ran off customers at Topps Supermarket, The Sandy Butler Gourmet Market, Mario’s Italian Meat Market and City Deli by parking trucks in parking lots and entranceways.”

How could this happen?

Only Boar’s Head knows for sure, but the Ft. Myers businesses were hosting fundraising events for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, which is based in Dallas. Folks I talked with said Boar’s Head truckers intentionally blocked several entrances and occupied a dozen parking spaces in the parking lots of the markets, even though Boar’s Head does NOT do business with any of those markets. There’re even posted photographs of this bully-behavior."""

What is going on with Boar's Head?
Have you heard of this conduct where you're at?
Florida Hounds there in Lee and Charlotte counties, what really happened? What insights can you offer?

3. Which line of products do you think is superior? Or are some things better in one line, and other things better in the competitor's line?

I've been thinking about this since I heard third-hand about the Boar's Head kerfuffle, and also since I bought some nice Dietz and Watson "London Broil" the other day.

Here is an article about a couple of these issues, if you'd like to comment on it, too:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There was a thread on this a while back.
    Personally, not sure when I've had D&W, but I generally don't care for the taste of Boar's Head produce. And if they insist on a market stranglehold that makes me dislike them more.

    2 Replies
    1. re: EWSflash

      i didn't see the thread on all my topics -- and i did a search.

      are you talking about this thread?:
      that just deals with the exclusivity issue, too.

      i'm appalled by their aggressive bullying tactics.

      1. re: alkapal

        No, that wasn't it, but the jist was the same. It had a title very similar to this thread. Sorry, I can't find it either.

    2. Boar's Head does not require exclusivity, as I have been in supermarkets that sell different brands of cold cuts as well as BH. Generally, Boar's Head is more expensive and is considered a premium product, so in the interest of greater margins, you may see a store selling it "exclusively". If you look carefully, there are often other brands in the case. It is not uncommon to see Land o' Lakes or Carando or some other brands.

      A retailer once told me that what makes Boar's Head such a big commitment is that they are pretty demanding of retailers. For example, they require that cold cuts be sliced to order, and that you carry a minimum number of varieties. Again, this is second hand info, but it makes some sense.

      As for my favs, well -- once you get hooked on BH deluxe ham, there is little else out there that tastes like it. I have found one that is close: Hormel low sodium cooked ham. Not quite as sweet, but at Walmart, it is actually just about $3.00 per pound, (which actually made me a little worried the first time I ordered it because it was so inexpensive). If you are not looking for a smoked ham and want a cooked ham, these seem to be the best choices that are most widely available.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RGC1982

        Be that as it may, I most go on record as saying they aren't that good. Their natural casing hot dogs are a divergence, and they're pretty good

        1. re: EWSflash

          Boars Head natural casing beef dogs are excellent; one of the best. The beef/pork dogs are ok.

          Thumann's meats are better than Boars Head and Dietz and Watson. A lot of Boars Head's meats aren't made by them, but for them by other companies.

        2. re: RGC1982

          Boars Head is just starting to market in Kroger's in Memphis. From what I understand, they do not require exclusivity, but if a store chooses to market BH, they must market EVERYTHING they make.
          What is special about BH products is there are no fillers, no additives, no glutein, and no preservatives and it is the hidden "stuff" that I am concerned about. Example, pink slime additives! What do they add to make it taste palatable? Sugar? HFCS #55? This is why organic products are doing so well. The old story about you get what you pay for! Well, tell me something, in WalMart, that does not come from China? Their crawfish, their shrimp, their edamame even comes from China and we grow soybeans all over the US.
          Enjoy your non-Boars Head products. This advisory is posted and best wishes.

        3. Dietz & Watson products are MILES better than Boar's Head. Unfortunately, many stores where I live carry mainly the Boar's Head products, and a very limited selection of other products. Needless to say, I don't buy deli products in those stores.

          I asked the deli manager of one of the large chain supermarkets I used to frequent why they carry mostly Boar's Head and not a variety of brands (particularly Dietz & Watson, Thumman, or Carl Ehmer), and he confirmed that Boar's Head requires a level of exclusivity.
          Based largely on the Boar's Head infestation at that particular store (hich once upon a time had a far better selection), I do most of my shopping elsewhere these days. I won't say that Boar's Head stuff is terrible, but it isn't my first (or second OR third) choice. The products are simpy nothing special (especially for the jacked up price).

          In truth, a good local old fashioned butcher shop puts all of the big brands to shame, Thankfully, such places still exist in NJ (though sadly, there are fewer these days).

          8 Replies
          1. re: The Professor

            Thankfully, such places still exist in NJ (though sadly, there are fewer these days).

            While I cannot agree with you that any of the brands you mentioned above are MILES ahead of any of their particular competitors products......I can agree with you that old fashioned butchers have excellent alternatives. Among them, I enjoy:

            Kocher's Meats
            Piast Provisions
            Swiss Pork Store

            I also like Italian specialty markets as well.

            1. re: fourunder

              Add to the list:

              Union Pork Store

              1. re: hotdoglover

                Aren't you a fan of a place called John's in the Union area as well?

                1. re: fourunder

                  John's Meat Market is in Scotch Plains. Known as one of the finest butchers in Jersey (always named best by N.J. Monthly), they do not make their own hot dogs. But they do buy them from Kocher's and try to pass them off as their own. John's is very good, but overpriced. Kocher's sells their own franks for $6.80 per/lb which is about the going rate. John's charges $9 per pound.

                  1. re: hotdoglover

                    I do believe they are only 3.49-3.99/lb at Piast...

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Are you talking about Piast's franks or the Kocher's franks that are sold at many retail outlets?

                      1. re: hotdoglover

                        Sorry about the confusion......Piast Franks and Knockwursts sold loose in their deli cases. You can purchase as many, or as little, as you wish. I know they have multiple locations, but I shop only at the two in Garfield.

            2. re: The Professor

              You are lucky. The good old fashioned butcher shop is getting rare these days. Too much stuff is prepackaged and shipped into the grocery store.
              Outside of a major supermarket there are fewer stand alone butcher shops. Even WalMart does not have "butchers". They have meat cutters!
              Add to that a stand alone bakery!
              Even Whole Foods has to ship in pumpernickel bread.
              Try to find a real good French baguette in Memphis is difficult.
              We can get Boars Head or