The closing of the Marsh grocery chain is putting a very successful promotion program for Indiana Pork in jeopardy. With the gradual shutdown of Marsh stores, the ability for consumers to buy Indiana Pork burger patties may disappear. Jeanette Merritt, with Indiana Pork, says they are very disappointed with the closing of the Marsh chain, “On Memorial Day of 2016, we started offering exclusively, frozen pork patties at Marsh stores. In the past year, we have had great feedback from consumers on how much they like the product. It now falls on us to find out where we are going to take them next.”
Merritt told HAT they are working with other grocery chains to get the frozen patties into their meat cases, but no deals have been signed so far. She added it is difficult to work with out of state chains like Kroger, “It is a bit more of a challenge to work with out of state stores. There is a learning curve for them to understand how important it is to have that pork patty in the store and why consumers want to buy it.” She added the Indiana Grown label has helped and some of the out of state chains are beginning to see the value of this local brand. Merritt said there are no statistics available on just how many Indiana pork patties have seen sold in the past year.
Not only was the promotion successful in selling branded Indiana pork, it also was a very effective way of introducing Indiana pork producers to Hoosier consumers, “Consumers want to know where their food comes from, and this promotion really helped put a face on Indiana pork producers,” said Merritt. Each box included a recipe card with the picture of a pork producer and information about pork production. For most of the past year, Keith Schoettmer of Tipton County has been the featured producer. “He has become a bit of a celebrity, which he finds quite humorous,” said Merritt.
Merritt said Indiana pork burgers are now being offered at several sporting events, including Indy Fuel Hockey, Ball State sports, and a baseball team in Gary.