Giant-Landover/Stop & Shop Rolling Out New Ground Beef Packaging

LANDOVER, Md. and QUINCY, Mass. -- Giant Food, LLC and Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. will begin offering high-oxygen packaged ground beef this month, replacing low-oxygen modified-atmosphere packaging.

The two sister chains said they decided to change the packaging because some shoppers found the retention of the meat's red color, a result of low-oxygen modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP), to be confusing.

While the U.S. meat industry maintains MAP meat products offer scientifically proven food safety and quality benefits, while also helping meat stay fresher and redder much longer, some consumer groups have been decrying the practice as being potentially misleading to consumers who judge meat freshness by its color.

"Although food quality experts recommend relying on 'use by' dates and not color as an indicator of meat freshness, we discovered many customers typically rely on this characteristic to identify freshness," noted Giant/Stop & Shop v.p. of consumer affairs Andrea Astrachan. "While we clearly mark all of our packaged ground beef with these dates, we determined this slight modification in packaging would be helpful to our customers."

"Giant and Stop & Shop always are looking for better ways and new technology that meet customer needs and ensure safe, quality, wholesome food," said Roger Wheeler, v.p. of meat and seafood for Giant/Stop & Shop. "As before, Giant and Stop & Shop's new packaging is FDA- and USDA-approved, leakproof, and easier for customers to identify ground beef freshness."

The new ground beef packaging will roll out in stores in the latter part of October.

Giant operates 185 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs over 22,000 associates. Included within the 185 stores are 165 full-service pharmacies. Stop & Shop employs over 59,000 associates and operates 389 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey. Both are banners of Netherlands-based Ahold.
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