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Problems with Kroger meat department? Anyone else?

Has anyone else noticed a rapid decrease in the quality of meat you get at Krogers? Over the last 5 years or so the items I usually buy have gone from pretty average to almost inedible.

I regularly buy the bone-in chicken breasts whenever they're on sale, and I'm now only getting about 4 edible breasts for every six or seven I buy - the rest are too tough and stringly to shred for chicken salad. And don't get me started on the pork - they've made the switch to using only "enhanced" pork, which is injected with water and sodium - I have no argument with paying a little more for the water weight, but this completely messes up the texture and doesn't taste quite right.

I'm getting to where I only buy meat at our local butcher ($$$) or Sam's Club (excellent meats, but there's only two at our house - I don't often need a dozen steaks, and freezer space is at a premium). There are probably six or seven Krogers in my city and I shop at 3 usually. Is this a widespread issue? Has anyone else noticed the same thing?

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  1. Yes, I've noticed it on several levels. Their meat quality is way off ~ The overall workmanship (sloppy merchandising, sloppy packaging, bloody packages etc, etc. in their meat departments are at an all time low. There is no sense of urgency in having the departments "ready for business" or to have advertised specials available. ~ In my area they enjoy a large market share of business. This seems to have created a 'don't give a damn attitude' With some traveling I have access to 3 or 4 Kroger stores. I live in the deep South.

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      1. I guess this question could also apply to any chain grocery that dominates its market. Kroger is mostly what we're stuck with here, unless you plan to do some driving. Our other options are Walmart, Meijers, Fresh Market and (at long last!) Trader Joe's. BUT there are only one each of TJ and FM - 20+ minutes of driving, Meijers is 30 minutes away, and Walmart is, well, Walmart. Plus I live near the scuzzy Walmart. Kroger is a 5 minutes drive or 20 minute walk. Are you happy with the store you're stuck with?

        1. Interesting. Kroger Corporate owns two chains in our area -- neither under the Kroger name -- and both are fine. One has truly excellent though expensive meat (though their sales are pretty good) and the other has good to very good meat most of the time with some terrific sale prices.

          10 Replies
          1. re: acgold7

            What are those chains? I didn't know Kroger had other entities. Maybe they're like the Banana Republic and Gap, and we are stuck with only Old Navy.

            I recently bought about 4 packs of short ribs, got them home, and realized one was definitely not short ribs. I took it back and was sent to speak with the "butcher" (some guy in a white coat) who assured me that it was indeed short ribs, just cut "the other way". I have no idea to this day what that cut of meat was - shaped roughly like a fish, no fat, no bones, and cut with the grain - weird. They let me exchange it very nicely though.

            1. re: NonnieMuss

              In my area Springfield,Mo,Dillons is the name of the chain part.

              1. re: NonnieMuss

                In Colorado and nearby, Kroger stores are King Soopers.

                1. re: NonnieMuss

                  I assume acgold is in SoCal and is refering to Ralphs (mainstream) & Food 4 Less (discount).

                  1. re: aimeekm

                    Here in Las Vegas, Kroger's operates "Smith's"

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        I live in Las Vegas, too. I recently purchased 2 large packs of Heritage chicken. They had been marked down with the yellow and orange labels. The price you pay per pound is inflated from what is stated on the new label. One pkg. was marked 71 cents per pound, but it actually came to 83 cents per pound. The other pkg was marked 1.59 per pound, but ended up being 1.72 per pound. I noticed about a year ago that the price wasn't right on some marked down salmon . From now on, I'll be more careful. Also the new Heritage brand is tough and the absorber inside is twice as thick as before. It rips and the gel is hard to clean out of the sink. I didn't know about the enhanced chicken until I read the other posts. There is also something wrong with the bakery bread and the doughnuts .

                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                      Here in the Seattle area they own QFC (upscale) and Fred Meyer (sort of an everything general department store -- like a Wal-Mart but better -- with a supermarket inside).

                      1. re: NonnieMuss

                        In mid-Missouri, the Kroger-owned grocery stores are called Gerbes Supermarkets. You can go anywhere in the US and be able to use your "Kroger card" (or in our case Gerbes card) at any Kroger-owned store. We use our Gerbes card at Kroger in Ohio when we visit my mother there...it's the one with tomatoes on it. I'm assuming they all look like that?

                        My husband does the meat shopping, and he says our Gerbes still has pretty good quality with their meat and have great sales.

                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                          In the San Diego market, Kroger operates two chains: Ralphs, which is mid-to-high end, and Food 4 Less, which is a 'value' chain.

                      2. Kroger in my area seems to be moving away from a decent chicken brand (Millers Amish) to Perdue and an inhouse "natural" brand which I found to be not very good.

                        I'm totally with you on the pork as well. Prebrined is disgusting.

                        Costco or premium local chains for meat.