Selected beef and pork packaged meat cuts may soon have simplified names displayed more prominently on the label.
The National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program last week received unanimous approval from the Industry-Wide Cooperative Meat Identification Standards Committee recently to introduce updated Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards naming for fresh beef and pork cuts.
Changes to the beef and pork common names were the culmination of extensive consumer research which showed an opportunity for retailers to build consumer confidence in how to shop for and prepare beef and pork. Some of the research included eye-tracking technology that allowed researchers to understand what information consumers looked at first, second and third on labels.
"We are pleased to have industry support to introduce new, simplified fresh meat names that will help consumers better understand the beef and pork cuts they see every day in the meat case," said Jim Henger, senior executive director of B2B Marketing for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
"Now that we have the feedback and approval from the ICMISC, retailers and packers can begin to implement the new names and labels to give them a competitive advantage and drive meat department sales."
The revised nomenclature was previously reviewed by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and American Marketing Service. Retailers, packers and scale label companies were also engaged in the process.
"This is a really historic event for the meat industry," said Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for the National Pork Board. "This cross-industry effort to develop new common names was completely consumer-driven, and is something that we all recognize as critical to keeping meat on the center of the plate."
Both the NPB and the Beef Checkoff initiated a review of common cut names in 2011, leading to focus groups and consumer studies on labeling. Names will vary by retailer and compliance with new naming standards is optional.
Lamb and veal naming standards are still under review, according to URMIS, though poultry nomenclature will not be affected.
The full list of the revised beef and pork common names are now available for retailers to integrate into their scale label programs on www.MeatTrack.com.
Retailers can visit www.PorkRetail.org and www.BeefRetail.org for more information on the consumer research that shaped the new program and merchandising opportunities available once implemented.