Natural Grocers Launches Meat Rankings
Fast-growing Natural Grocers is looking to appeal to increasingly demanding consumers by offering a new ranking system for every fresh meat product it sells.
The company, which has been posting steady growth and accelerating expansion over the past several years, says it has refreshed its meat and seafood departments in all of its grocery stores across 19 states. The new and improved departments feature quality and exotic varieties of grass-fed meat, pork, poultry, fish and seafood. Customers can expect a wide variety of offerings including, bison, beef, yak, wild boar, elk, venison, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, ostrich, cod, mahi mahi, salmon, scallops, shrimp, tuna, pollock, rockfish and sole.
"Our standards ensure that all of our meat is naturally and humanely raised and our seafood is sustainably sourced, which we believe is the best for our customers, the animals and our environment," said Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers co-president. "We also believe our customers appreciate that we make this incredible quality and variety affordable."
Specifically, the grocery chain has launched a ranking system for its fresh and frozen meat products designed to help customers easily identify and find the quality standards they are looking for. According to Natural Grocers, the new ranking system, which identifies meat and seafood products as bronze, silver and gold, is based on criteria that matter to consumers and improves transparency, which is often lacking in label claims.
The ranking criteria include:
- Sustainably farmed
- Humanely raised
- No antibiotics, hormones or growth promotants
- No animal by-products
- No cloned or genetically modified animals
Silver (includes all Bronze requirements):
- Non-GMO feed
- Non-GMO alfalfa (ruminants)
- No synthetic colorants (seafood)
- Free range (poultry)
- 100% grass fed and/or certified organic (ruminants, seafood)
- Sustainably sourced (seafood)
Gold (includes all Bronze and Silver requirements):
- Certified organic and/or other regenerative farming practices (beef, poultry, pork)
- 100% U.S. domestic (ruminants, poultry, pork)
- Wild caught and sustainably certified (seafood, boar)
"The unique thing we've done is create real transparency and information about animal product labels so that customers can better understand, and more importantly, trust the food they're buying and eating is really what it claims to be," said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers executive vice president. "There are so many loopholes in each animal species industry and we've done our best to bring light to those areas of confusion and provide information that is usable at the point of purchase. Often there is a disconnect on how food gets from the farm to the table and we want to help bridge that information gap."
In its last fiscal report (third quarter 2019), Natural Grocers posted same-store sales growth of 2.4% aided by extensive marketing, a strong loyalty program and the opening of new stores. The company announced in September that it would be opening its first store in Louisiana, its easternmost location yet.
Lakewood, Colo.-based Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 153 stores in 19 states.