Murray’s Highlights Local and Sustainable Cheeses

NEW YORK — New York’s legendary Murray’s Cheese has now put its branded, service cheese shops in 38 Kroger stores in four Kroger Co. [4] divisions.

What’s more, Murray’s plans to open 25 more of its shops in Kroger units before the end of the year.That will beat the goal the two companies agreed upon — to have 50 of the Murray’s stores within Kroger stores up and running by the end of 2012 — when they made their deal a couple of years ago.

As they opened in more locations, Murray’s has done some tweaking, adding product information and, for example, identifying local and sustainably produced cheeses.

“We’ve made a huge commitment to local, and we’re identifying local cheese with green product cards,” Liz Thorpe, Murray’s vice president, said during an earlier interview. “There could be five to 25 local cheeses, depending on the location, and we keep looking for more.”

Identifying sustainably produced cheeses is a more recent effort that got its launch last summer in Colorado in King Sooper stores, a Kroger division.

“Consumers were looking for organic cheeses and there aren’t many that meet all the requirements for organic designation,” Thorpe said. “But sustainably produced cheese meets many of the principles for organic production. For instance, made on family farms, and the animals are grass fed, have had no hormones.”

The Murray’s shops in King Soopers in Colorado represent the biggest effort Murray’s so far has made with local/sustainable customer-education materials, a Murray’s representative told SN last week.

Customer education efforts will be ramped up this spring, she said, as Murray’s opens locations in four more Kroger divisions, including QFC and Fred Meyer.