WEST NEW YORK, N.J. — A new A&P Fresh store that opened here this month features some new innovations in the perishables area that the chain plans to roll out to additional locations.
Among the key initiatives at the store, which is located in an upscale bedroom community just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, are new high-end beef offerings: one called Premium Gold Black Angus and another super-premium line of Kobe beef.
The new Angus line is scheduled to roll out throughout the Northeast in the week before Memorial Day weekend. A&P has exclusive distribution rights to the product in the region, Clarence Oliver, senior director of meat, A&P, told SN during a store tour on the eve of the store's opening.
“We wanted to have it here to start this store off on the right foot,” he said. “We're excited to have it.”
The beef line is distinguished by its authenticity, according to Oliver. While many beef lines are touted as being Angus-quality, often they are actually “Angus-type” meats, he explained. The Premium Gold line, which he said has also been offered at H-E-B's Central Market in Texas, is genetically tested to be from 90%-plus Angus stock.
Prices were listed as $16.99 per pound for rib eye and New York cuts.
The store will also carry a specialty line of Kobe beef called Wagyu that is raised in the U.S. The Wagyu program has been tested at the company's Food Emporium Bridgemarket store in Manhattan and is being rolled out to A&P Fresh stores in the Northeast. The beef was priced at $6.99 for ground and $29.99 for steaks.
Another meat line being introduced at the new store and scheduled for rollout to other A&P fresh stores is a premium natural pork line called “1855 Pork by Master Choice,” leveraging the Master Choice store brand.
The trend toward upscale offerings is also evident in the seafood department, where A&P is adding a line of organic salmon, farm-raised in Scotland, and Arctic char. In all, the store will carry four varieties of salmon instead of just one, as typically had been the case at A&P.
Other additions in the seafood case include sushi-grade swordfish and tuna, two varieties of organic shrimp and a range of specialty seafood salads made exclusively for A&P. The salads include such offerings as linguine with shrimp scampi, and shrimp with Thai noodles.
“We are really moving the company toward more upscale offerings, with more day-boat varieties and more organics,” said Joe D'Alessandro, senior director, seafood. “We're getting to be more like a Wegmans or a Whole Foods.”
Like the new programs in the meat department, the new seafood offerings are rolling out to other A&P Fresh locations in late May.
In the deli, similar efforts are under way as the company introduces new upscale meats under the Master Choice label. Included in the new store are the first items in a line of Master Choice deli meats that in many cases will be extra-lean, with no MSG and no gluten.
“We're building Master Choice to a whole new level in the deli,” said Jim Saufl, senior director of deli, bakery and food service, A&P.
A Lavazza cafe is located adjacent to the deli.
The company also debuted a new take-and-bake pizza program at the store, using a specially prepared dough that is supplied by a vendor and is exclusive to A&P. The line includes a wide range of traditional pizzas in various sizes as well as some gourmet varieties, such as a sliced tomato and mozzarella pie.
Prepared foods include a selection of hot and cold entrées, salads and side dishes, about three-fourths of which are prepared by suppliers.
“We're looking at being a chefless kitchen in our stores, with very high quality,” said Saufl.
The store, located just a short walk from a busy commuter ferry terminal, is expected to be a strong destination for dinner-tonight shoppers.
It also features an extensive selection — 350 varieties, to be exact — of store-cut cheeses in an area across from the deli that is set off with its own “Artisan cheese” signage.
In the bakery, new offerings include a line of muffins and a whipped-cream dessert-cake program.
The new A&P store includes many of the features that had been introduced in other Fresh stores over the past year, including a special potato display that gives tips on preparation, and a similar mushroom display that calls attention to variety.