Thursday, June 18, 2009

Does the good stuff go on sale?

The free-range, grass-fed Australian beef I bought the other day for $2.99 a pound at ShopRite is the rare instance where meat or poultry that is raised naturally sells for less than the ordinary stuff (see earlier post, "Fire sale on free-range beef") .

You always see Perdue or Tyson chicken on sale, but except for an occasional, in-store "manager's special," you won't see lower prices for drug-free Readington Farms poultry. Whole Foods puts its drug- and hormone-free steaks on sale for $9.99 a pound (this week, it's rib eye), compared to $12.99 normally. But Fairway's sale price for ordinary rib eye is about half that.

ShopRite does cut prices for free-range Australian beef and lamb, so those producers may feel that's the only way they can get and keep a foothold in the U.S. But most people seem to judge poultry on price alone. Deceptive TV advertising doesn't help. The chicken listed in the local daily newspaper's Marketbasket survey is Perdue. In fact, the newspaper's survey completely omits organic and antibiotic-free foods.

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