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May 8, 2013 06:18 PM

Smithfield Pork Tenderloin vs Niman Ranch - any thoughts on quality difference?

I usually buy my pork at Whole Foods because it's Niman Ranch and has always been quite tasty. However, my family, in particular the wise old grandmother, has always been a Smithfield Pork fan. My local Safeway sells it for 1/2 the price of the Niman Ranch at Whole Foods so I'm just wondering if anyone has any experiences with either and/or both. I guess I'm wondering if the price difference is a Whole Foods general higher cost issue or if the Niman Ranch quality is that much better/noticeable. TIA.

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  1. I really believe that the price difference is about how the animals are raised. I lived down the road from a "farm" that was raising hogs for Smithfield and have never bought that brand again. Best that I stop there.

    2 Replies
      1. re: smtucker

        I can confirm what you're NOT saying about Smithfield. I too gave up that brand years ago. Just Google them. There's plenty of info readily available. Terrible animal welfare practices and major fines for polluting the waterways of VA & NC. Don't even get me started on the antibiotics. It's worth a read.

      2. if you are at all about how the animal is raised than you cannot in good conscious buy factory meat. And smithfield is factory meat all the way

        Plus, niman tastes better.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JudiAU

          Well my original reason for sticking to Niman is that it tastes great and converted me to a pork fan. Now that I know the rest of the story, I think it's still the solid best choice among my options.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Most supermarket pork is lean Midwestern, "The other white meat." Extremely lean, dry and flavorless. They are now offering it "pumped" which does make it moist but its still chewy and flavorless.

            Many very high end restaurants buy Niman products. IMHO, there would be a huge difference between Niman & Smithfield.

            Smithfield is 1/2 the $ so its a cheap experiment. My guess is that braised or deep fried its ok, but not grilled.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Thank you for the information, I'm glad I posted this question.

          2. I'm just going to ditto the others. I can't bring myself to buy meat from a company that supports torture, and yes, what they allow/encourage is torture.

            Just as an aside- the video on the Bittman link is so awful, that it's inspired legislation. Legislation against that kind of treatment of animals? Nooooooo. Laws against FILMING IT.

            *rant over*

            1. I'll join the chorus - Smithfield does not treat their animals well. They also do not treat their employees well.