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US meat industry renames cuts


Looks like we'll be seeing some new names at the meat counter... including no more "pork chops".

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  1. I trust that my local butcher shop will still give me what I want if I ask for it the way I always have, and not by these silly-assed new names.

    1. Just more deceit from the food industry. A huge percentage of fish labels, at the consumer level, are fictional. Why not create as much confusion for land animals too? Much of the world no longer is willing to import U.S. foods. Drugged and chemicalized meat, plant products that are more genetically modified every week. They look at Americans, who seems to fatter and dumber every year, and say holy crap, it must be that stuff they all eat. We don't want to end up like them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: emu48

        There is nothing in the article that suggests that the purpose is deception.

        1. re: GH1618

          Paragraph 2:

          "In an effort to boost sales just ahead of the U.S. grilling season ... "

          Article also points out that the U.S. supply chain is clogged with a surplus of unsold meat because fewer countries are willing to buy the U.S. product because of the chemicals in it.

          No deception? What other intent can you suggest when there's too much unsold meat, which should result in much lower prices, and suddenly your previously cheap pork chop has become a Porterhouse chop, a Delmonico cutlet or something else with an assinine name none of us has ever seen applied to it before? Do you believe in tooth fairies too? Hey, my mom has sex with space aliens.

      2. Interesting article.
        I agree with emu48; "more deceit from the food industry"

        Jones-Ellard said. "Anything that simplifies the names of cuts of meat is a good thing for consumers."
        -bullshit. The industry is not doing this for the consumer's sake, but instead to boost sales.

        I wonder if they're going to have a transition labelling period:
        "Ribeye Chop $4.99/lb formerly pork chop $2.99/lb"

        Or in 20 years, will old timers like us reminisce when a pork butt was a pork butt. "Damned kids today... wouldn't know a pork chop if they saw one."

        9 Replies
        1. re: porker

          This is EXACTLY why they are doing it! To "justify" raising their prices.

          "Ribeye chop" sounds so much fancier, like a ribeye steak, yet are worlds apart in flavor and quality (let alone animal!).

          1. re: Dinermite

            I believe it has more to do with defining the actual type of chop.

            1. re: wyogal

              I feel they're using clarification of what type of chop (or other cut) as a GUISE to change the names. The real goal is to raise prices and/or sales.
              From the second paragraph:
              "In an effort to boost sales... pork and beef industries are retooling more than 350 names of meat cuts to give them more sizzle and consumer appeal"

              1. re: porker

                boosting sales, yes, justifying a price raise, not so much. Two different concepts
                Also, I have seen discussions on the boards, when someone says "porkchop," there are wildly different views and opinions of cooking said chop, depending on the type of the chop. So, yes, I find the new names easier to identify, and from what I've seen in discussions, may be beneficial.

                1. re: wyogal

                  it's value-added marketing but as it stands, pork chops are not all priced equally.

                  1. re: wyogal

                    I think it may be beneficial as well - theres alot of regional differences in cuts and names to create plenty of confusion. Clarification would be refreshing.
                    However, without being alarmist or conspiracist, I don't trust big industry. They seem to tell you one thing to justify another. It rubs me the wrong way to hear something like "Anything that simplifies the names of cuts of meat is a good thing for consumers" when the real goal is to boost sales.
                    They don't give a rats ass if its "a good thing for consumers", but rather their bottom line: SALES.

                    I believe increased sales will drive up demand which will lower supply which will increase prices. Different concepts yes, but quite connected and benefitting who? Not necessarily the consumer...

                    1. re: porker

                      Isn't that just as true of small industry? Businesses large and small make business decisions.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Yes and no. IMO, big industry has a tremondous amount of inertia. People can lose touch of their mores or integrity within such a big machine; their decisions might be based solely on the bottom line and be damned with anything else. Anything goes bad, the machine will protect them. I dunno, sub out dangerous, unhealthy work to desperate people at a lower cost or lower your manufacturing standards in other countries simply because you can, etc.
                        Small industry appears more accountable and seemingly behaves accordingly.
                        I know this is a simplistic view and theres overlap to both sides, but its an opinionated rant...

                      2. re: porker

                        what's good for consumers is what's good for business and is usually determined by advertising agencies.

                        In this case, the USDA is also on board which makes it seem less nefarious.

            2. The reality of this is that most people will still buy cuts at their local supermarket and will be disappointed in the tough tasteless piece of meat on their plate. In the drive for lean non-fat meat, we are left with tasteless and tough cuts of meat that most people don't know how to cook properly. Giving it a different name doesn't make it taste any better or look any prettier in the shrink wrap.

              How about teaching the consumer to properly cook these cuts? That will move more meat off the shelf and onto the consumers plate in the long run. A catchy new name might make the first sale but, poorly cooking it will result in only a single sale.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Sid Post

                "You can put lipstick on a pig...."
                How appropo.

                1. re: Sid Post

                  Ahhh, but they solved this problem, inject the lean crap with a water solution. People think the product is moist and the producers charge $2.50 lb for the water they inject that they paid less that an 1/8 of a cent per pound for.

                2. Coming up with new names for milk products didn't work out very well. I still buy 2% and not whatever it was that was on the new label. I'm thinking this follows the same path.

                  1. "In an effort to boost sales... pork and beef industries are retooling more than 350 names of meat cuts to give them more sizzle and consumer appeal"

                    This says exactly what the beef and pork industries are doing, and why..... Trying to drive sales that are soft. The question in my mind is...Will it work?... Maybe. ~ Personally I don't think that industry sales are soft due to 'confusion by the consumer' but rather sticker shock in a very weak economy. ~~ Just for fun I walked through a large retail meat market this morning, and picked up probably 50 or so different packages of beef and pork. I understood perfectly what the label said was in each package. There was no confusion. I also saw the price!!! Wow!! ~~~ Changing the name of a Center Cut Pork Chop to a "Cowboy Cut Pork Rib-Eye" in my opinion will not drive sales. ~~ I guess they gotta try something. ~~ I could tell them how better to spend their promotion dollars to increase sales...but they wouldn't listen.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      I think you are right that a high price is a more important inhibitor of sales than confusion about the cut of meat.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Giving a pork chop a different name is ridiculous. I wonder who the marketing expert was selling them this bad advice? Surely they received a big fat check for having done so.

                        Price and some diet/health issues are the real culprits...not the names.

                        1. re: twodales

                          "Price and some diet/health issues are the real culprits...not the names"

                          I think 'they' know this, but have little or no control over market prices of pork and beef.....

                          "said Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for trade group National Pork Board".

                          Producers are on the NPB's pork butt to do something to enhance sales...Do something damn it!!!! Fleming came up with this cockamany idea. If it fails ( I think it will) to increase sales he, (Fleming) will join the ranks of the unemployed.

                          Reading between the lines this is what I see.....

                      2. re: Uncle Bob

                        The biggest impact on sales would be to go back to raising pigs that had marbling within the lean that made the meat moist, tender and delicious.

                        1. re: Tom34

                          Yeah, I really do remember how different and better a pork chop tasted in the 1970s, even though I was only in my teens.

                          1. re: Bada Bing

                            There is something wrong when you cut into a perfectly cooked double thick pork chop and the plate fills up with water. Then you bite into the piece you cut and it has no flavor. Waste of time, money and calories IMHO.

                            1. re: Tom34

                              The supermarket I frequent only sells natural pork, and maybe that's why the problem of a watery plate is not so notable for us. But the overall lack of flavor means that I seldom cook anything from the loin, in particular, without serious spicing and sometimes brining, or both. Cheap varieities of chicken breast are much the same--like tofu, they're mostly a canvas for flavors.

                      3. Silly waste of time. Why am I not buying and eating as much meat these days? Two reasons: Price and Health

                        Meat has become, like everything else...more expensive. Taxes are going up, Health insurance is skyrocketing, Fuel and food prices are higher...but guess what? No raises, so something has got to give. Where my husband and yt once upon a time would eat two steaks, now we share one.

                        We have both learned to like doing this too. It has it's health benefits.

                        Renaming cuts of meat to sell more? Time-wasting nonsense.

                        1. As long as I can still identify and buy the parts I like (butt, tongue, heart, tripe, stomach, cheeks, feet, shanks, etc) I don't care. The Asian groceries where I get most of meat use their own names anyways.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: paulj

                            I love the names used for meat in Asian markets....just be careful if you see the name "ponoc" on the package......

                            1. re: EricMM

                              One that I am still trying to clearly identify is 'drop flank'. It may be diaphram. It's a thin sheet of meat with tough connective tissue on both sides.

                              1. re: paulj

                                I saw one last week labelled "beef meat." I swear it had to be a penis. It was long and thin with a rounded tip. The only other possibility was the tip end if the tail, but it was pretty thin.I was too embarassed to take a picture of it in the store.


                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                  pizzle is the name my local butcher uses - they have a dried, smoked version, sold as a dog chew. 'Bully stick' is a common name in pet stores.

                                  I've seen a package of 'lamb meat' at a small halal market - pink egg size pieces (lamb fries).

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    Yes, yes! I used to see them near the pig's ears in Petsmart. I am always gladdened to see examples of 'no part wasted.' But this was raw and in the regular meat section of the Asian food market. Surprised me.

                                    I wonder if meat neophytes will start to question whether the newly named pork cuts are indeed pork or instead, beef?

                          2. The revised nomenclature emerged after two years of consumer research, which found that the labels on packages of fresh cuts of pork and beef are confusing to shoppers ...

                            If it does, the lowly "pork chop" will be gone. Instead, grocery retailers could be stocking stacks of "porterhouse chops," "ribeye chops" and "New York chops." The pork butt - which actually comes from shoulder meat - will be called a Boston roast.

                            Haha oh wow. I'm sure that shoppers will be far less confused when even the small degree of knowledge of cuts that they had managed to acquire becomes redundant, through the replacement of 350 names with ones that are even more inscrutable in helpfully indicating geographical locations and methods of cooking rather than the part of the animal from which they come.

                            1. If it will stop my local market from labeling all kinds of random cuts--especially pork cuts--as this or that kind of "rib," then I'll be happy. Cut a shoulder into strips, there's "country ribs," etc.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bada Bing


                                this chart of the 'most popular pork cuts', shows 3 'country-style ribs', shoulder bone-in, loin bone-in, loin boneless.

                                The main change with pork is a refinement in the pork chop names, making them more 'beef' like (New York chop, ribeye chop, Porthouse chop).