To start grilling season off on the right foot, USDA officials have decided to revise the names of more than 350 pork and beef cuts to make meat shopping easier. Unfortunately, this means that we have to say goodbye to the “pork butt” and the “pork chop” that we have all come to know and love, at least officially.
"The problem is consumers didn't really understand the names that were being used, and still don't," Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for trade group National Pork Board, told The Associated Press of consumer research findings. "The names confused consumers to the point where they'd go, `You know, the information doesn't help me know how to use it, so I'm going to stop using it.' That was a wake-up call for both the beef industry and pork industry."
After two years of research and getting the National Pork Board, Beef Checkoff Program, and Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards (URMIS) involved, the new, simplified labels are aimed to hit supermarkets this summer. For example, the pork chop will now become the porterhouse chop, ribeye chop, or New York Chop; the pork butt will be the Boston roast; the boneless shoulder top blade steak will be flatiron steak; and a beef underblade boneless steak will now be the Denver steak. Not only will new terminology be used, but the cuts will also come in new packaging stamped with details about the cut of meat along with cooking directions.
"That old system just wasn't really doing its job to communicate to the consumer," Trevor Amen, director of market intelligence for the Beef Checkoff Program, told the Associated Press. "If you're a butcher or a meat cutter, you really know what part of the animal it comes from. But if you're a consumer, you just want to know what it is and what to do with it."
USDA officials hope that new names and packaging will ease the minds of grocery shoppers and raise sales at the meat counter for grilling season. New names for veal and lamb are also being discussed and have yet to be released.
Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer at the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.