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Problems with Kroger meat department? Anyone else?

NonnieMuss Jan 21, 2013 07:43 AM

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?

  1. Uncle Bob Jan 21, 2013 09:10 AM

    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.

    1. NonnieMuss Jan 21, 2013 01:01 PM

      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. a
        acgold7 Jan 21, 2013 08:50 PM

        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.

        9 Replies
        1. re: acgold7
          NonnieMuss Jan 22, 2013 06:07 AM

          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
            mutti Jan 22, 2013 03:10 PM

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

            1. re: NonnieMuss
              Veggo Jan 22, 2013 03:26 PM

              In Colorado and nearby, Kroger stores are King Soopers.

              1. re: NonnieMuss
                aimeekm Jan 22, 2013 08:46 PM

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

                1. re: aimeekm
                  mucho gordo Jan 24, 2013 04:13 PM

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

                  1. re: mucho gordo
                    juliejulez Jan 25, 2013 10:59 AM

                    Smith's is also in Wyoming.

                2. re: NonnieMuss
                  acgold7 Jan 22, 2013 09:24 PM

                  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
                    Christine Jan 23, 2013 07:31 AM

                    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
                      NorthEncantoGirl Jan 23, 2013 07:27 PM

                      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. coney with everything Jan 22, 2013 05:06 AM

                    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.

                    1. juliejulez Jan 22, 2013 03:42 PM

                      I shop at Kroger-owned King Soopers and most of the time everything is fine. They even carry the "simple truth" brand of pork chops which is not enhanced. It's pricier, but because of that it often goes in the discount section, which is where I buy it from for $2-3 a package. I have no issues w/ their chicken... it's not the greatest ever but it's certainly more than edible. I do trim it myself at home because it's poorly done, but I only buy it when it's $1.99/lb on sale, so I don't mind a little extra work, since I'm portioning it out to freeze anyway. The chicken at Costco is better, but runs $2.99/lb and for the amount of chicken we eat and the budget I'm on, that extra $1/lb makes a difference.

                      My biggest issue is some of their staff isn't knowledgable. One time they had ground chicken on sale, and I asked the guy who was stocking the meat case (right next to the chicken) where I could find it and he was like, "oh we don't have that". I thought that odd, especially since this is newly built store (ie huge with TONS of selection normally) so after I finished the rest of my shopping I stopped back by the meat and found it myself... it was right next to the area he was stocking. But other guys that work in that department are knowledgeable so I try to find them when I need something.

                      Oh and in December (during the thick of college football), they didn't have wings that weren't from a bag in the frozen food section, and he had to rustle up some drumettes from the back as they didn't have any on display. I thought that to be weird.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: juliejulez
                        NonnieMuss Mar 13, 2013 07:43 AM

                        I have recently seen the simple truth line at my Krogers. It was miles better than the enhanced stuff, but still not that great. The texture was right, though, which made up for a little lack of flavor. My druncle, King of the Pork Tenderloin, served 6 from Kroger at a family gathering recently. He asked us the next day if they tasted weird - I told him about the enhancement and he swore off Kroger pork forever.

                        1. re: NonnieMuss
                          tracylee Mar 17, 2013 01:16 PM

                          "drunkle" - Love it! We always called ours "Uncle Butthead".

                          Good to know about Kroger meat, though. I'll keep an eye out for the difference next time I think about meat when I'm there.

                      2. m
                        Mellicita Jan 22, 2013 08:52 PM

                        I also have essentially quit buying meat at Kroger. I go to Whole Foods or Central Market (small Texas chain) for meat. I just stock up on basics, like diet sodas, canned tomatoes, etc. I do like Kroger's rotisserie chicken, at least where I live, they do a good job at that.

                        1. d
                          deputygeorgie Jan 26, 2013 10:50 PM

                          I have noticed! I thought it was just a fluke, even though its happen a few times lately. We don't cook at home very often so I thought it was a mistake. I've noticed bones in their chicken strips. I finally just decided to either go to Publix or make my own strips so I can check for bones more thoroughly. I've also noticed they don't sell 'pork chops'. They sell pork loin chops, but they're way too big. What they call pork chops are off the bone. The best pork chop meat is right on the bone, in my opinion. I've also noticed 'leaky' packaging. Ew.

                          1. DoobieWah Apr 17, 2013 08:55 AM

                            My local Kroger in Houston actually has a decent meat department.

                            Their head butcher, (Hi Joseph!) has helped me out several times when I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.

                            Once they were advertising split chicken breasts but didn't have any out. I inquired, he looked around and then grabbed a whole chicken and went and cut them.

                            Another time I wanted some boneless beef ribs and he went and cut some for me from the primal. I'm pretty sure he gave me a really good deal both times.

                            And of course, they are always happy to grind a chuck for me when asked.

                            I can't speak for all Kroger's of course, but I would absolutely recommend Joseph at MY Kroger.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: DoobieWah
                              NonnieMuss Apr 17, 2013 10:41 AM

                              You're lucky to have a real butcher at your Kroger. We have maybe 8 or 9 Krogers in town, and only two have butchers onsite, rather than guys in white coats who unpack the meat into the cases. And while those with butchers definitely give better service, I still don't care for the quality of the meat, especially the pork.

                              1. re: NonnieMuss
                                chileheadmike Apr 17, 2013 12:17 PM

                                The lean ground beef Mrs CHM buys at Kroger exudes a lot of.... errr, something. No idea what it is. At 95% lean it isn't fat.

                            2. s
                              Samantha1957 Aug 11, 2013 07:12 PM

                              August 11, 2013
                              RE: Kroger's in Oregon, Ohio Navarre Ave. Location

                              I've been shopping at Kroger's for at least 25 years. However, I have noticed in the past year, each time I buy a package of bone-in chicken breasts, there is a large amount of water in the package. I know this is common practice to add more weight but I have noticed this amount of water INCREASING in the past several months. So, I decided to weigh the last package I bought. 10.56 ounces!!! That is what I actually poured into a measuring cup. That's not counting that the package leaked, dripped down in my vegetable bin (without my realizing it). I poured off an additional 4 ounces for a grand total of 14.56 ounces folks!!! Almost a pound of water added to one package of chicken. Not only that, but the water that drained into my vegetable bin, completely contaminated 4 oranges, 5 lemons and a bag a batteries I had stored in there. I had to throw everything out as it already was quite smelly. I bleached out the entire shelf and drawer. Kroger's, I'm DONE SHOPPING IN YOUR STORE. Meijers is a mere 1 mile farther down the road, I NEVER had a problem with their meats. I'm tired of being ripped off. In fact, about 6 years ago, a woman who worked in your meat department told me, "If you knew what Kroger's did to their meats, you would not buy it". I doubted her then, I no longer doubt she was telling the truth. ***Customers BEWARE***

                              1. jmckee Aug 12, 2013 02:01 PM

                                Absolutely. It's why I don't shop there much anymore since a new grocer opened in my area.

                                Lack of quality.

                                Lack of variety -- if it ain't ground, steak, chop, roast.

                                Non-ground cuts are thin -- can't get a thick steak.

                                Seafood is all prefrozen -- including stocking the "fresh" shrimp by opening a bag of Kroger brand frozen from the case and dumping it on the ice.

                                Occasionally, I've opened meat and it smells kind of woofy.

                                No more for me.

                                1. a
                                  AMYPMINNICK Apr 14, 2014 01:35 PM

                                  I'm on the phone with customer service right now. My ground beef wasn't out of date but, while i cooked it, it smelled rank. It was $12 of 80% lean ground beef and it smells bad....this is not the first time this has happened to me at this store and this store is the flagship store in
                                  GA. It is supposed to be the biggest, newest, most advanced store they have. My neighbor also noticed a problem with her meat and stopped shopping there. AWFUL!!!

                                  1. EWSflash Apr 14, 2014 07:19 PM

                                    We have Fry's here, part of the Kroger's chain, and the meat departments vary pretty wildly. We live in the midle of a nest of them, There are five of them in a five mile radius.One time we went around looking for a good leg of lamb and covered four of them that didn't have any, but at the last one we found a spectacular one. They do vary a lot.
                                    No, there are six of them. Kind of amazing. But I've never seen any of the bloody packages or "disgusting quality" that this thread mentions. Somepof them are minimalist at best when it comes to the meat dept, and some have great butcher counters.

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