In the relentlessly competitive world of supermarket retailing, the only constant is change, and to this end, Coles has launched its latest round of red meat chilled cabinet innovations designed to win and retain customer loyalty.
Among the cache of new innovations being seen on Coles shelves from this week are:
- A new ‘mid-tier’ MSA-identified fresh beef proprietary brand designed to sit between Coles Finest (premium, 100-day grainfed) and Coles’ Everyday product. It will appear in Queensland stores, and potentially extend into NSW areas later.
- A series of ‘slow cook’ winter value-added items using a wide range of secondary cuts in creative ways – some previously unseen at a national retail level.
- New bio-degradable tray packaging made from compounds extracted from corn starch
Coles general manager, meat, Allister Watson, told Beef Central that his company was constantly looking at its range of beef items and how it could add value to products that had possibly been under-valued in the past.
“It’s really good from a customer perspective to see change in the meat case, as the seasons evolve,” he said.
“Heading into winter we’re trying a new range of marinated beef ribs, lamb shanks, marinated roasts, Angus steakettes, and other items developed from chucks and shoulder meat. The common thread is that a lot of the pre-cooking preparation has already been done,” Mr Watson said.
Covering all four main meat proteins, the range includes about 13 items. Many are designed for oven-baking or slow-cooking, and encourage customers to ‘get back to basics’ in cooking principles.
“It’s the type of winter fare that eats really well: it might have a lovely sauce or marinade that goes with it, yet the customer doesn’t have to think too much about the preparation side,” he said.
Some are items that have appeared previously, but are making a comeback, such as a crumbed beef schnitzel.
Biodegradable pre-pack trays
Also being introduced progressively by Coles from this week are new thermo-form pre-pack trays made from a material called Plantic, produced from corn starch derivatives, which is fully biodegradable.
Sustainability in packaging has been a strong focus in the European supermarket industry for some time, but the trend has not been widely seen in Australia up to this point. Coles has indicated it may make future sustainability claims surrounding the Plantic packaging, once it is more widely distributed across the store network over the next few months.
“We’ve done the trial work at SRS in Victoria over the past year, and it’s now just a matter of integrating the Plantic packaging into other production sites like ACC in Brisbane,” Mr Watson said.
It would be used with mince and steak items in the early applications, he said.
Drover’s Pride carries clear MSA identity
Another major launch this week for Coles is a new fresh beef brand, called Drover’s Pride, which will sit between the premium ‘Coles Finest’ grilling cuts and Coles Everyday product.
The brand is not owned by Coles itself, but by northern supply chain beef supplier, Australian Country Choice, based in Brisbane. It is supplied exclusively to Coles in Australia, but may one day be used for other ACC retail customers overseas.
Of major significance, in an Australian retail industry positioning sense, is that the Drover’s Pride packs will carry clear MSA label identity, as can be seen in the pack images here.
While the Coles Finest premium brand already carries an MSA graded reference, it is in fact written only in ‘small print’ on the back of the pack, and makes no real attempt to engage the customer.
The significance of the Drover’s Pride product is that it carries the MSA symbol, clearly, on the front of the pack in a conspicuous position. That’s a first for Coles in its Australian beef offer, but it is unlikely to be heavily promoted, judging by Allister Watson’s comments.
“All our customer survey work tells us consumers do not understand MSA. They either trust your products or they don’t,” he said.
“Certainly all the work we have done in our no-HGP offer, and improving quality attributes in other ways, is all underpinned by MSA grading. But at the end of the day, we’ve said to customers, this product is more tender, and these are the reasons why – but we haven’t tried to explain the MSA grading symbol. To our mind, it’s not consumer friendly.”
While Drover’s Pride is derived from the general run of ACC cattle killed for Coles each day, what sets it apart is that it is limited to MSA boning groups 1-4, guaranteeing a higher eating experience.
This strategy of creaming the chillers for higher-performing MSA carcases is another good example of brand segmentation, which is now starting to take-off in MSA supply across Australia.
So what was behind Coles strategy in introducing Drover’s Pride as a mid-tier product?
“We’ve experienced good growth in proprietary branded meat products, by providing a wider choice for customers. And it has come incrementally, rather than at the expense of existing Coles products,” Mr Watson said. “Some customers just want a choice.”
A good example of that is the JBS-owned King Island brand, which is sold widely through Coles supermarkets in southern States as a mid-tier proprietary brand.
“It has gone really well, but we do not sell King Island in Queensland,” Mr Watson said.
“ACC, which is a big part of our national supply chain, approached us with the idea of developing a ‘King Island-like’ mid-range brand based on Queensland supply, which we supported,” he said.
Pricewise, the Drover’s Pride product will sit between the Coles Finest and Everyday beef prices.
ACC chief executive David Foote said the move into a proprietary brand was a significant development for ACC.
He said the MSA logo on the Drover’s Pride pack was not designed to be the point of difference, but only to act in a supporting role to the brand name itself.
The product is packed in an appealing woodgrain-style tray designed to deliver a more ‘crafty’ appearance, using the high-performance DarFresh vacuum packaging system, delivering greater shelf-life. ACC had previously installed DarFresh technology to pack the Coles Finest 100-day beef fed out of Rangers Valley.
As well as conventional grilling items like OP ribs and eye fillet portions, the Drover’s Choice brand extends into some very unusual territory, such as beef cheeks.
“Following the success of TV cooking shows across Australia over recent years, there’s an underlying consumer demand for novel items like cheek meat. Up to now most of ours have gone to export, typically restaurants in Asia,” Mr Foote said.
“But we had the opportunity to build this new Drover’s Pride Range, and cheeks were a ‘random pluck’ that we think can work in a brand application like this. We think it’s a first to see a non-grilling cut under a brand program in this way.”
While a cheek muscle could technically still be called a secondary cut, it was actually the ‘first choice’ cut for that particular style of cooking, he said.
Another first for the Drover’s Pride brand is the inclusion of a Flat-Iron steak – a seamed oyster blade with the large connective tissue removed. It represents one of the first attempts in the branded beef category to sell a cut by its ‘sizzle’, rather than by its AusMeat code or standard muscle definition.
How best to prepare and cook items like flat iron steaks and beef cheeks may require some consumer education, and to that end, ACC has recently radically upgraded its website, using the expertise of Brisbane website developers, Chris Mackie and Derek Tan, the talented web ‘architects’ behind Beef Central.
The new-look ACC website (Click here to view) will carry ‘how-to’ recipes and handling tips for items like cheek meat and flat iron steaks. Website access information will also be provided on each pack in the chilled cabinet, and via in store leaflets.
The Drover’s Pride products have also been submitted to Coles for analysis for potential application within the company’s Spirit hotel steakhouse chain, numbering 14 outlets across Eastern Australia.
I just to ask if your meats are HALAL please.
Thank you very much in advance.
I do love this product Most times It’s delicious and the reason I buy this is because it’s 230gms of yummy. Sadly sometimes when I open the package I feel tricked, the rump has been follded to appear thicker. Please stop this practice. Tnx
Just I would like to ask about Drovers choice beef meat is it halal or not halal
The drovers choice porterhouse steak is a bunch of miscellaneous beef bits glued together.
Hi we bought your Drovers Choice Beef Ribs from Coles Jimboomba and my wife cooked them tonight.
We bought a seasoning rub also from Coles.
My wife cooked them as to instructions on the packet.
Was looking forward to having them .
Well it was the worst meat I have ever eaten in my life..not even one mouth full of meat between us.
Nothing but grissle and fat.
I wouldn’t feed it to our dog.
We have been loyal customers of Coles since they opened in Jimboomba and we have been living here for 32 years.
Looks like we will be shopping at Woolworths from now on and will be spreading the word out you Farmers Choice meat.
Have pictures of packet and plate of so called meat.
After reading all the comments You do not seem to listen to your customers. Wewant the drovers choice topside roast back on the shelves. Most of us have tried the Coles brand and are not satisfied with the quality. Now are you going to listen to your customers. Or are we going to have to look elswhere for our meat.
I used to buy Drover’s Choice Marinated Topside Roast & it was,by far, the best roast in every way. I haven’t been able to find it stocked for the last 6 months or so. Tried the alternative Coles Brand but was no where near the same quality. I haven’t cooked a roast beef roast since & really don’t want to unless it’s Drover’s Choice. Where can I purchase it???
Is Drovers Choice grass fed or grain fed.
Very disappointed – in these times feeding a family! Great price supposed to be six pieces of steak!!!! Got two pieces and a big clump of meat – not able to cut it to make the extra four steaks! Ripping of customers is not a practice I recommend. Will be making sure all the families in my community don’t buy the NOT value for money Drovers choice!
Always buy the Drovers Choice Rump steak and enjoy it. Today purchased the rump steak and to my surprise found that there was about 200grams of fat that was tucked away underneath the meat in a 1kg pack. Very disappointed.
Good day Sales,
I would like to make an inquiry about some products. But before i proceed, – Minimum order quantity ? – If credit card is accepted ? – Delivery lead time ? – Do you have a catalog price list ? I would be awaiting to receive the reply as soon as possible.
MARIO STORE INC,
Kukum Highway 1298, Honiara, Guadalcanal
Island 1298, Solomon Islands
Tel : (706) 503-3656
always buy drovers rump steak, today I purchased .9kg of that rump and found 5 pieces to make up the pack, hard to see that they were actually rump steak!!!!!! all sorts of shape pieces.
Please confirm Drover’s Pride Beef product’s are halal certified?
Every week i would buy a drover choice topside roast ir is no longer available at my coles. i am very disappointed i can no longer purchase this product.
Silverside, why do you need to put kiwi fruit powder in this, we have a grandson allergic to kiwi fruit, needless to say can not feed him this,, lucky we read label ingredients, but that was not what I thought brine was made of.
Disappointed that I am no longer able to purchase the Drover’s Choice Marinated Topside Roast which as well as the beef being very tasty and tender, the veges tasted better and using the pan juices helped to make the most delicious gravy (THE best Gravy).
Experiments trying to replicate the marinade I found something close which the family says is equally as good (if not better) which is really saying something. Purchased a normal Coles Topside Roast with partial garlic cloves dotted into the top and marinated in generous amount of Fountain steak sauce with finely chopped garlic and marinated 24hrs in the fridge. After 24 hrs remove from marinade, wipe the outside of roast with paper towel and place in fridge for 3-5 hrs to dry out. Seal the beef in Roasting pan and roast as normal. Keep any left over gravy and once cool freeze in sealed sandwich bags (about 2-3 inches) to add to stews. Used as a replacement for stock – mixed with some hot water. Adds so much extra flavour to stews. Hope others who are missing the Drover’s Choice Marinated Topside Roast find this helpful.
Had been purchasing Drover’s Choice marinated Topside Roast for a few years due to tenderness, and especially the added flavour of meat and it made to the gravy after cooking using pan juices. Then my local store stopped stocking it replaced with some crappy Coles marinated/coated brand that is nowhere near the same quality. After searching found another Coles a few suburbs away that still stocked the Drover’s Choice Roast but alas has disappeared from there now also. Why would Coles cease stocking such a popular product? It just does not make sense. Can we purchase direct from Aust. Country Choice?
I’ve been buying drovers choice topside from Coles in Heidelberg for quite a few years now and absolutely love it, but I am now so disappointed that they no longer stock it 😢
I live in Adelaide holidaying in Queensland and after buying Drovers Choice topside roasts and porterhouse steaks which we love (they never disappoint) find that we can’t get them in Queensland as yet. Can you tell me where I can buy these now in Tin Can Bay but willing to travel to Brisbane to get my hands on same.
Great meat good taste good price and Queensland based.
Can no longer get Drovers Choice Marinated Topside Roast in Greenvale, Airport West, Essendon areas. Love this roast – really disappointed Coles have replaced it with Coles Brand.
Hope someone else stocks it – will certainly be looking.
Very dissappointed that I can no longer buy Drovers Choice Marinated Topside from my local Coles Suppermarket in Dubbo NSW…
I’m 50 odd years old, I’ve worked on cattle stations where you eat meat a couple of hours after it is killed absolutely beautiful. Just bought a Drovers Choice Brisket not corned ,marrinated. The most tenderest flavoursome roast I’ve eaten in my life
have had Drovers choice for the past few years and this week Ichanged from the rump to the porterhouse and the quality is just amazing keep up the good work love your product
Don’t understand what all these bad reviews are I bought the porterhouse steak in the 6 pack it was the best steak I’ve ever had.
My family’s favourite meal is roast topside with baked vegetables. Over the last 41 years I have lost count of the number of times I’ve made it. Usually I get my topside from the butcher where they often try to sell me a different cut as they believe topside is too dry to roast. Anyway, I was in Coles a couple of months ago and saw the Drovers Choice Topside Roast and decided to give it a go (I was hooked by the name). I cooked it up as I normally would and was so surprised with the outcome. It was extremely moist and flavoursome. The family (while always appreciative) were very vocal about how good it was. Thinking it may have been a ‘one-off’ I have tried it a couple of times since and always have the same result. I don’t buy my topside from the butcher anymore. Its Drovers Choice for us from now on. Great quality and great value. Thank you.
I love the Drovers Choice roast beef topside. I use it for making casseroles. It’s the only beef I can afford these days as I’m on a DSP & highly recommend it…. Jane
Disappointingly just found out that apparently Coles have deleted the Drovers Choice Rump. Cannot find anything that comes close to this product.
Hi, had to comment on the Coles Drovers labelled beef. It’s excellent quality and very tasty & tender! I have bought lots of the Topside beef roasts and every one has been top quality, thank you to the farmers & Coles! This is a winner!
why are there no drovers choice topside roasts available. that was the best I have ever purchased.I live in west australia and i could buy them at coles. What happened.
I would like to know why the Berowra Heights Coles does not carry the “Grovers choice marinated topside roast every week, we buy one a week or at the most one every 2 weeks. It is very frustrating not to beable to get what we need.
We have had 2 of the topside roast beefs, and they are the most tender pieces of beef we have ever had.
Coles please keep supplying this beef to your PORT MACQUARIE STORE.
Hi! I bought a Topside Roast the other day and cooked it yesterday. It was SO tender and SOOO delicious!!! I will definitely continue buying your products 😀 Thank you! Oh, and we are in the Southwest of Western Australia 🙂
When my husband brought some scotch fillet from coles in Rutherford NSW I was sceptical.To my surprise it was the best scoth I have had for a long long time.However we have not been able to purcase it from coles in the Maitland ,Rutherford area for quite some time.Disapointed.
I have eaten all if your cuts and I think this meat is better than the King island meat of today
This drovers pride is the only steak my husband can eat, we are pensioners, but to see him enjoy this meat is worth it.