Raley's Gets Transparent With Pork

Randy Hofbauer
Digital and Technology Editor
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Raley’s has partnered with American Homestead Natural Meats, a Hawarden, Iowa-based group of family farms producing top-quality meat, to offer several varieties of fresh pork that are both non-GMO and antibiotic-free.

The 35 farms in American Homestead, all located in Iowa, provide high-quality, affordable meat products. Animals are never given antibiotics or growth promotants, and are raised cage-free in open spaces. They feed on non-GMO vegetables and grains grown on neighboring farms.

The new offerings mean that Raley’s now offers 15,000-plus natural and organic foods, in furtherance of its goal as a local, family-owned company to support and partner with other like-minded family businesses with the same open and honest practices.

“We take our customers’ needs seriously. And what they’ve shared with us is the importance in having full transparency in where their food comes from and how it’s produced,” said Keith Knopf, president and COO of the West Sacramento, Calif.-based grocer. “That’s why we dug deep to find the right partner that will offer our customers natural pork alternatives. We are excited to partner with American Homestead Pork, whose strong quality standards mirror our own. Our customers can trust that they’ll have quality pork options at a value, raised on sustainable and humane practices.”

This latest partnership marks another step forward in Raley’s commitment to advocating for transparency and education in the food system. As Michael Teel, owner and CEO of Raley’s, said in a presentation last week at TransparencyIQ, a CPG transparency-focused event produced by Progressive Grocer parent EnsembleIQ, Raley’s purpose-driven mission has relied on smaller steps that cause a ripple effect to create a bigger change for the force of good. Changes in this area include removing cigarettes from the product assortment, axing certain private-label sodas containing high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, and even pulling candy from checkout displays

Arguably, the retailer's most significant purpose-driven step in recent months, however, was the introduction of Raley’s Shelf Guide, a labeling system that combines current food trends and leading research to set strict standards for packaged food claims and provide label transparency. The initiative was a response to the fact that, according to Teel, although recognizing ingredients is the top influencer of consumers’ decisions to purchase a food product, 59 percent of grocery shoppers encounter difficulty in understanding nutrition facts on product packaging.