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Have they stopped making Hickory Farms Beef Stick?

My sister and I were at Walmart a few weeks ago, and picked up what I thought was a Hickory Farms Beef Stick. But as soon as I tasted it, I knew it wasn't the same thing. I then saw that the label said "Summer Sausage". I then proceeded to the Hickory Farms website, and, again, all I see is Summer Sausage. Please don't tell me they've discontinued the Beef Stick for this poor substitute- ?!

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  1. I've just answered my own question. I called the 800 number on the Hickory Farms website, and, unfortunately, they've changed the recipe for it and they've changed the name.
    What a damn shame.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aurora50

      It's usually a bunch of suits in a boardroom that make these stupid decisions, happens everywhere.

    2. To me the Beef Stick was Hickory Farms. I cannot believe they stopped making it!!

      1. I have discovered this fact also. As far as I am concerned the HF Beef Stick was indeed HF and their best product. I am really disappointed and will not purchase any of their other products until they bring the real beef stick back (like the real Coke). Everyone who loved the beef stick should let it be known!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe we can put some pressure on Hickory Farms and convince them back to sanity.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rgjr

          I agree. Let's start a movement, people!!!!!!!!!!
          : p

          1. re: aurora50

            +1 And if they stop making sweet hot mustard, we should shut them down.

        2. I also found this out after I purchased 3 of their beef summer sausages. I would think if they were gonna change the recipe on such a well known item that they would make sure consumers knew that information so they could make the decision whether they wanted to continue with their purchase. Another case of buyer beware I suppose.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JACKIENMARK

            the beef stick was always a favorite in my stocking growing up.

              1. re: jesoda

                He he. When I was little we would be shipped off to camp and be sent care packages by my mother. She was very strict about the post office requirement that perishable food not be sent via the mail, and she basically considered chocolate and all forms of sweets, including baked goods such as brownies and cookies, as "perishable". So we would get a box full of Hickory Farm's sausages, cheese, beef jerky, and maybe some hard candies.

                This was intensely frustrating because one of the big deals about care packages is that you would swap with your campmates, e.g. M&Ms for mom's brownies, whatever, and our "currency" was pretty much worthless.

            1. thanks for the info - I usually get one for DH for his christmas stocking!

              1 Reply
              1. re: jujuthomas

                You're welcome (she said with a sorrowful frown).

              2. My husband & I bought one thinking it was the beef stick. To our surprise, it wasn't! I'm VERY disappointed in HF for changing it! Like ChrisOC said...this was HF!! I' ve tried to get on thier site, but it's only to sell...no comment or contact board. Maybe it's just as well...they would get an earful from me!

                6 Replies
                1. re: eli s

                  you should be able to find a 'contact us' somewhere on their site. I was able to, and I certainly gave them an earful able this. Maybe if they hear from enough people they might re-introduce the classic beefstick ala NewCoke/Classic Coke.

                  1. re: km_mcrc

                    That's right, as I said above, I found an 800 number on the Hickory Farms website.
                    And you can talk to a LIVE person who will definitely listen to you.
                    Give 'em hell, eli s.

                    1. re: km_mcrc

                      I emailed them at <cserv@hickoryfarms.com> and got this response:

                      Thank you for your recent email regarding our Beef Stick. The original Beef Stick has been discontinued. We continually strive to improve our product line and offer only the most premium products to our customers. We have recently improved Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage. It's now leaner with a better blend of smoke and seasonings.

                      1. re: Sarah

                        Ha! Heresy, I tell you!
                        LET'S GO GET 'EM, PEOPLE.

                        1. re: aurora50

                          More from HF --

                          Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage. Each year we continually strive to improve quality in order to offer only the most premium products to our valued customers.
                          We apologize if you were recently disappointed with Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage, and would like to offer you a replacement product or a full refund.
                          In order to do so, we will need to verify proof of purchase. Please send us the receipt, packaging, a label, or the box the item came in to:
                          Hickory Farms
                          Attn Customer Service
                          1505 Holland Rd
                          Maumee, Ohio 43537
                          It is necessary to include a note with your name, address, telephone number, what was wrong with the item and what you would like in return. If a refund is being requested, please also include a copy of your sales receipt. After receiving this, we will promptly handle your request.
                          We have forwarded your suggestions to our marketing department. We have found our customer opinions are an invaluable tool to help direct possible future product offerings.
                          Again, we apologize if you were disappointed with Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage, we hope to better serve you again in the future.
                          Sincerely,
                          Troy Roemer, Agent ID 0008
                          Hickory Farms Customer Service

                          1. re: Sarah

                            Harumpf.
                            Seems to me, that you shouldn't have to jump through all those hoops just to get comped for what you paid for. Your word, and the fact that you took the trouble to write to them, should be good enough.
                            Secondly, you want the original Beef Stick - not another crappy new Summer Sausage or some cheese (I'm supposing for you, I know).
                            They're digging themselves a deeper grave, in my opinion.

                  2. What a stupid decision by the execs at Hickory Farms. Now they are trying to push something called their "Signature" summer sausage. I bought a small stick recently and it was horrible. I thought perhaps the store I bought it at (Wegmans) was out of the original beef stick and that I got fooled into buying this new product. Then while shopping for three large beef sticks for Christmas stockings two weeks ago. I encountered the same large "Signature" summer sausage. The clerk adamantly and rudely insisted that the displayed product was their "Original beef stick". I asked her why the words "Beef Stick" were not on the label. Her rely, "Well, I am not going to argue with you.". And she walked away !!!
                    I Think the original "Beef Stick" is Hickory Farms' number one most recognizable and enjoyed product. By labeling this awful and cheap tasting summer sausage as their "Signature" product is about as dumb a marketing mistake as when Coca Cola decided to replace original Coke with a new recipe. Note that "Coke Classic" was soon returned to store shelves, and hopefully the execs at Coke for that blunder were removed. Whoever is advising Hickory Farms execs should be forced to eat this new lousy summer sausage that they are now so proud of as their "signature" product.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Plitteer

                      800-753-8558.
                      EVERYONE CALL AND YELL LIKE HELL.

                    2. I confirmed the change of recipe here on this forum. Devastated! In my mind, this could very well be the nail in Hickory Farm's coffin. I decided to write to the customer service address on the site. I thought I'd share my rant with all (perhaps it will inspire others ;-) ).

                      Unfortunately, I don't believe Hickory Farms has ever had anywhere near the number of customers that Coke had when they changed their formula. But maybe for those of us who have been, our writing can change their minds.

                      The Beef Stick is Dead! Long live the Beef Stick! ;-)

                      Brian

                      Customer Service,

                      I am not expecting some generic response to this unless my information regarding the discontinuation of the original recipe of the Beef Summer Sausage is incorrect. Instead, I request that my opinion be forwarded directly to your manager for routing to the appropriate departement and/or upper management.

                      My family and I have been enjoying the original "Beef Stick" Summer Sausge recipe for nearly 40 years (as long as I've been alive). We have purchased and consumed it as part of many traditions from birthday gifts to stocking stuffers to party platters.

                      To come to discover it has been abruptly replaced by an inferior tasting recipe (the so called "Signature" Beef Summer Sausage) is more than just disappointing. I know many people that have tried the new recipe and agree across the board it is not a better tasting product.

                      In an era when Hickory Farms has seen increased competition and reduced sales, I can't help but wonder how it was considered a good idea to replace one of (if not THE) key products that people associate with the brand? If you have a new formula you think some people may like (I have not found them), why not offer both?

                      I highly encourage your management to reconsider this decision. If you find yourselves wondering why your sales have dropped off six months from now, I am certain to suggest that you consider all of your customers that also came to discover there favorite sausage replaced after all of these years. Perhaps they don't have the idea, time, or inclination to write but they will stop purchasing. If your convinced I'm wrong, send out a customer survey to all of your news letter subscribers and ask. If that proves me wrong I'll eat the rest of my "signature" stick.

                      If the original recipe has in fact been discountinued, there is unfortunately no longer a compelling reason for me to order from Hickory Farms. I can only hope that comments such as mine from life long customers are carefully considered and this poor decision reversed in the near future.

                      Regards,

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: brian163

                        Excellent letter, brian163. Hope they'll listen.

                        1. re: aurora50

                          Thanks, aurora50.

                          After initially receiving a mail delivery delay warning to my submission, I did end up receiving a response from a rep. who stated they are gathering feedback from customers. Hopefully this will encourage others to take a few minutes to write or call.

                          ---

                          Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us regarding Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage, and for allowing us to be part of your holiday traditions. I apologize if you were disappointed with our new recipe. You are correct, we have made adjustments to our former Original Beef Summer Sausage recipe. As a company we strive to offer only the most premium products to our customers, and it appears we have disappointed you in this instance.

                          Please know that we have shared your comments with our Vice President of Marketing, and that they will be taken into consideration while planning for our next season.

                          Again, I apologize if we have disappointed you by changing our Summer Sausage recipe and I hope we can better serve you in the future.

                          Best,

                          Lindsay

                          1. re: brian163

                            Well, that sounds a little better, like maybe they're finally starting to get the message!

                      2. My wife and I stopped in a HF while Christmas shopping. The kid that waited on us didn't even know what beefstick was. We bought a couple of the new recipe summer sausages. It turned out to be just another run-of-the-mill summer sausage. RIP beefstick-HF can't be far behind.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pbbelly

                          Join the movement, pbbelly!!!
                          (See the phone # above.)

                          1. re: aurora50

                            Is summer sausage bad? or is it just bad compared to the beef stick .. I never tried either, as of yet. DId recieve something from HF to holidays have t poke around

                            1. re: Augie6

                              Well, all I can say is, if you never tried the original Beef Stick, you wouldn't know it to compare it to this new stuff. The new Summer Sausage may taste "ok" to you, it depends on how discerning your tastes are. But I can say, if they DO bring back the Beef Stick, a taste of the two of them, side by side, would show you what we're talking about here.
                              And you'll know if you have the new stuff, it won't say "Beef Stick", it will say, "Summer Sausage".

                        2. I to was very dissapointed about the change to the HF beef stick. I couldn't find the 3lb stick anywhere, now I know why. I went on line and purchased 2 of what I thought was the HF beef stick.Let me tell you, my wife called me at work to let me know that my package was here. I couldn't wait to get home. I opened the box, noticed that the wraper was changed, cur a piece, and nearlt puked!!!!! I couldn't belive it. After stumping around the house I called HF and found out the BAD news about how they "changed it for the better" NOT. I got the box that they where shipped to me in. Wraped them back up, even the one I cut, and send it back. Yes I did get a full refund but I was out the $10.05 to ship the scrap back. I hope they don't wait till the end of this year to make the original beef stick. They had a great product, why screw it up.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: 4bigbubba

                            4bigbubba, thanks for your feedback.
                            Just a suggestion, maybe either call the 800 number above, or email them, and explain to them exactly what you said above.
                            They can't know unless they find out EXACTLY how we all feel!!!
                            Let's get this taken care of before November/December next rolls around!
                            (Maybe it will take them some time to change their product back.)
                            Help us start a movement here!
                            Thanks.

                            1. re: aurora50

                              I did call the 800 # and also sent them an e mail. And I plan to every so often so they get the point!!!!

                            2. re: 4bigbubba

                              Try this address --
                              <cserv@hickoryfarms.com>
                              I have a feeling they may have shut it down...

                              1. re: Sarah

                                Hi Sarah,
                                I sent them an email tonight and plan to send them more till they get the hint......Thanks

                                1. re: 4bigbubba

                                  I'm going to put my money where my mouth is, and send them another one as well.
                                  Pressure, pressure....

                            3. Yes they eliminated the Beef Stick name about a year ago, and at that time I contacted them and was advised they were just relabling it as Summer Sausage, but it was still the same thing. Well for close to a year I purchased and consumed the Summer Sausage, which in fact was Beef Stick.
                              However at Christmas I purchased several "Summer Sausage" and immediately noticed the change in taste. I thought perhaps I got a bad batch, and tried the other one, with the same results. I contacted Hickory Farms and was advised they recently reformulated the recipe so it was "improved".
                              I advised them that the improvement was a matter of opinion and I did not believe it to be an improvement. I also informed them that Coca Cola made a similar improvement back in 1985 only to realize their error.
                              I think this was a deliberate attempt by Hickory Farms to cut costs by making a cheaper product, and increasing their profits. They eliminated the Beef Stick name and relabled it as Summer Sausage and distributed it for almost a year. Then just prior to Christmas, the time of year they sell the most product, they changed the formula and did not inform the unsuspecting public. Obviously someone in a suit made a bad decision to change an iconic product.
                              I will not buy another Hickory Farms product until they bring the Original Beef Stick back.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jarhead384

                                I'm way late to this thread, but only because I just now got betrayed by the evil "Signature Summer Sausage." It was so bad that I did some Googling and found this forum. Reading others' experiences prompted me to send HF a letter of complaint, too. (see excerpts below) Nothing ventured, nothing gained! I hope that together, we can convince HF to return to the origianl Beef Stick recipe.

                                EMAILTO HICKORY FARMS:
                                "I started enjoying Hickory Farms Beef Stick some 40+ years ago as child in southwest Ohio. My favorite was the Beef Stick, and thus, it became a part of my holiday traditions as an adult. Every year I always purchased the biggest Beef Stick I could find, along with the hickory smoked cheese, for my family to enjoy.

                                This year I purchased a product labeled "Summer Sausage" (not "Beef Stick") from a Hickory Farms mall kiosk. But when I got it home and tasted it, something was amiss: it didn't taste right. It tasted just like a (yucky) summer sausage product I'd purchased at a grocery store several years ago. That product, from HILLSHIRE Farms, made me realize that nothing compared to HICKORY Farms Beef Stick. So imagine my surprise--and dismay--this year when my beloved Beef Stick tasted just like the grocery store imposter.

                                At first I thought it was my imagination, and even considered the possibility that age has changed my sense of taste and smell. But every time over the next week that I took another taste, I became more and more convinced that it wasn't me, it was the product. It was NOT the Beef Stick I was accustomed to. For one thing, “real” Beef Stick never had bits of whole peppercorn in it...nor did it leave a greasy film on the tongue and inside the mouth. Real Beef Stick had a mellow and tantalizing smoky aroma; the new stuff has more of a sharp, peppery smell...

                                This change disturbed me enough that I Googled "Hickory Farms Beef Stick," and lo and behold, what I did find? An entire forum at Chow.com of people lamenting the same thing: how Hickory Farms has quit making the original Beef Stick, opting instead to “improve” the recipe by changing it and labeling the resulting miscreant product “Summer Sausage.” ...

                                As my kids say, that decision was an “epic fail.”

                                What a ghastly mistake Hickory Farms has made. This new "Summer Sausage" is just plain gross, and is a VERY POOR substitute for the original Beef Stick. And every single person on the forum hates the “Summer Sausage” product as much as I do. (And with good reason: it just plain sucks in comparison to the original Beef Stick. I suppose we should all thankful that Hickory Farms didn't desecrate the "Beef Stick" trade name by applying it to this clearly inferior new product.)

                                Is there ANYTHING we lovers of old-school, original Beef Stick can do to convince Hickory Farms to begin producing it again? Please? PLEASE?!!!

                                It makes me very sad to know that my family and I may never enjoying the rich and savory flavor of a REAL, ORIGINAL Hickory Farm Beef Stick again. I’ll most certainly never purchase another of those horrid “Summer Sausage” things again...

                                Thank you for providing this opportunity to express my opinion.

                                Sincerely,
                                ....

                                P.S. By the way, the smoked cheese was “different,” too., this year. The texture was weird—sort of dry and crumbly-like. Not at all like the smooth, firm texture I remember it from years past. (sigh)

                                1. re: rcdjones

                                  You Said It rcdjones!! I too sampled the smokey cheddar bar last week, and it was awful. No longer that firm easy to slice white cheese, but now a yellowish "mealy" textured substitute, that breaks apart when you try to cut it. The taste of that cheese has also been altered for the worse. What a major corporate disaster HF has become. It almost appears that they are trying to destroy that wonderful company by killing off its two best major products, Beef Stick and Smokey Cheese. What a terrible corporate decision!!! Who the heck is in charge of that corporate train wreck?? Those of us on this post need to send our resumes to HF and offer our services to take the company over from the current decision making morons, while the company still has some breath of life left in it !!

                                  1. re: Plitteer

                                    Boyoboyoboy, it sure sounds like Hickory Farms has fallen prey to the Too Many Vice Presidents With Not Enough To Do Syndrome.

                                    The Ford Edsel and New Coke leap to mind.

                              2. so has anyone found something similar to beef stick they can recommend? Just isn't Christmas without it

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                  Old Wisconsin Beef Summer Sausage tastes almost identical to the original Beef Stick.

                                2. I too have just sent them a not so kind email.In this economy, when I spend money on a past holiday fave,I expect the sales people to acknowledge and reveal that I am NOT in fact buying the original, but a cheap knock off brand(probably with foreign beef at that) I called the 800 number and the operator was CLUELESS as to wheather or not the beef stick was the original.I can see yet another old but great christmas tradition being shot to hell because of "CHANGE" Tammy S. Panama City Beach ,FL

                                  1. My brother had what he said was Hickory Farms Beef Stick at Thanksgiving. I bit into a piece and went directly to the garbage and spit it out. After argueing with him and telling him that it wasn't what it was suppose to be, looked it up on the internet and found out they didn't make it anymore. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy the summer sausage and it tastes terrible. Why do they have to take such a good product and discontinue it. I am done with Hickory Farms until they bring the ORIGINAL BEEF STICK back. My holidays won't be the same without it. :(

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: chichope

                                      Agreed! I just emailed HF and told them I hope they are monitoring this "chowhound" discussion board. The more contact with their marketing department, the better!

                                      1. re: Plitteer

                                        Good for you, Pliteer, and everyone else who's taking time to contact HF about this again this year. Challenging HF to monitor this board is a stroke of genius. Maybe we should all send them an email with nothing more than the link to this site.

                                        I got a robo-response from my initial email, the same old BS: "thank you for sharing your thoughts...sorry you're disappointed...we strive to..." blah-blah-blah. They also offered me a choice of a refund or a replacement of the product (as if!), and I took them up on the refund offer. But since it looked my original complaint had been cut short, I included it, in its entirety, in my response. (They may not read it, but it won't be because they didn't have access to it!)

                                        1. re: rcdjones

                                          I just e-mailed them my post above and I hope everyone else does the same. We all must demand that they bring the original Beef Stick back to us.

                                      2. re: chichope

                                        I also sent them an e-mail lamenting the loss of the Beef Stick. It has been a family holiday tradition for a long time. In Colorado, you knew the holidays were finally coming when the Beef Stick made its yearly appearance in the local malls. Last year, I just assumed our local suppliers had run out, and that I had waited too long. This year I asked the sales staff and they let me know that it was no longer available. I sure hope this site and the e-mail have some influence. Sad to see such a great product go. I will try the Old Wisconsin mentioned here, but it is still a HUGE disappointment not to be able to get the BEEF STICK.

                                      3. I too love the original Hickory Farms Beef Stick. And I do NOT like the new recipe. The other day I was at my local supermarket and I picked up some Old Wisconsin BEEF Summer Sausage and, quite surprisingly, it tastes almost identical to the original Beef Stick. Same taste, same texture. Love it!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Blue Crab

                                          Thank you, I'll give it a try. The Hickory Farms Summer Sausage is just terrible.

                                            1. re: Blue Crab

                                              I too have discovered the Old Wisconsin summer sausage. I have recently been diagnosed with a wheat/gluten allergy and the OW product is gluten free! It is one of the few prepared meats that I can eat in confidence.

                                            2. Anything close to their honey garlic beef stick?
                                              I'd consider making my own if I got a decent recipe ;)
                                              Doug

                                                1. Was just shopping at Walmart and saw their Hickory Farms display....but no Beef Stick! I rushed home to order online, only to find that I'm SOL!!!! Now I see all the angry responses to a genuine corporate screwup, and I agree wholeheartedly! I've already expressed my displeasure to the young man who answered the phone (he, too, had never heard of a Beef Stick). I'll follow up with emails and letters to corporate and customer service, but I'm excited to learn there may be an acceptable alternative. Good bye HF, hello OW!!!!

                                                  1. I made an interesting discovery last week. If you google the name of a sausage or cheese product (eg Cheddar or Snack Stick) and then add the word "Wisconsin", what will come up will be an infinity of Wisconsin companies that manufacture and sell those products by mail. Wisconsin must be wall-to-wall in such companies. I already picked out a cheese company from which I intend to order some Christmas gifts and I requested a Usinger's hard-copy catalog, which I see offers 11 "Snack Stick" items in Beef, Summer Sausage, Landjaeger, and Summeroni. Very fun Internet browsing, with the holidays coming. (No, I don't work for Wisconsin, don't even live there.) You might find a company you like better than Hickory Farms.