Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Loblaw Wagyu beef marketing disaster





I'm updating this post which discusses the sale of Wagyu Beef in my local Loblaw store, a move that turned out to be an absolutely disaster. Apparently, the Loblaw superstore sold only five Wagyu steaks last week. And the Loblaw in Vanier had its entire stock of Wagyu stolen right out from under the store staff.

Today, I checked out the Wagyu in Elmvale and there were still steaks but they were being sold for ten bucks each instead of nearly sixty bucks. Just thought you'd like to know. :)


I walked into our Loblaws this week and there it was, as promised in the flyer, a cartload of Wagyu beef steaks with a side of  Chiliean sea bass.

The steaks were nice enough, meaty, with veins of fat running through them and the fish, well, the fish was beautiful, pristine, white like a Caribbean beach.

Wonderful. The price, however, not so much.

Each steak was selling for $59. The sea bass, which I only know about because it's featured in fancy restaurants in the movies, was $16.

At first I thought it was a joke.

These are serious economic times, ladies and germs, when most of us are fishing through our pockets looking for enough money to afford steak on Saturday night at an average cost of $16 to $20 and Loblaws does this. I suppose Galen Weston is trying to appeal to the upscale folks in my neighborhood at Elmvale Acres but, given the fact a lot of people are scraping by, living in high rises, cruising around in motorized wheelchairs and gas guzzling beaters -- or taking the bus -- I'm thinking that maybe Galen was a little light on his market research.

I asked the meat lady how many steaks she'd sold that day and she just shook her head.

"None," she said.

What makes matters worse is that Loblaws continues to gouge its employees, having de-unionized the lot while packaging and cutting off the heads of its long time workers, people like my friend Scottie who has worked there for more than 30 years who had his wages cut effectively by a third. He'd finally had enough last week, and bid sayonara to a fish monger job he clearly loved.

What the hell is going on at Loblaws?

Its passive aggressive behavior is starting to worry me.

First, Loblaw plies its customers with loyalty cards, then it makes us all feel bad to shop there.

There should be a law, I say, there should be a law.

Needless to say, my husband and I left Loblaw without purchasing the Wagyu and instead went over to the Ottawa Farmers' Market where we picked up two lovely large tenderloins for $18. We wouldn't have done that a week ago, but $18 farm-to-table, while supporting our farmers, seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Look, Wagyu beef is terrible for you. It's full of marbling, which means saturated fat. The friendly dietician on Loblaws staff would, or should, be telling you it's a cardiologist's worst nightmare.

It's also evidence of Japanese class warfare, coming from a place where only a small percentage of people can afford to eat meat and instead eat rice and seaweed-wrapped cucumber sandwiches as their staple.

And here's a bigger question: what's going to happen to all that Wagyu when nobody buys it?

It will go into the dumpster some place, that it is a certainty.

Loblaws won't even be able to give it away to the poor because of the health hazards of serving expired meat. Oh, well, there will be some mighty fat and happy maggots at the Loblaws dumpster.



 

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