Colourful displays bursting with fruits and vegetables, crusty artisan breads, decadent sweets, pungent cheeses, fresh local meats—walking through a Michael-Angelo's grocery store in either Markham or Mississauga has been compared to strolling through a Sunday market.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the family-owned business’s “creed” is “sharing our love for food.” How they convey that passion to their customers—notably in the store’s meat department—is something also worth sharing.
Half a century of variety
From the Pugliese family’s first forays into the grocery store business in the 1960s to today’s bustling Michael-Angelo’s locations, staying in tune with customer desires is on everyone’s mind.
As Mike Gionfriddo, the company’s meat buyer, says, “Variety is number one. Bringing customers a larger array of items and creating new items through merchandising keeps things fresh and interesting.”
This product diversity includes offering different cuts of Ontario pork in addition to the more commonly known tenderloin, chops and ribs—and educating the public on them.
Meat department staff happily answer customers’ questions and give “how-to” recommendations. Combine this with Michael-Angelo’s prepared meals and mouth-watering carving station, showing shoppers these cuts in action. (The store’s Twitter feed broadcasts each day’s enticing prepared food features—definitely worth a follow.)
With the variety of offerings in store, customers will be challenged to eat the same cut twice!
Keeping it healthy
“Lean meat is important to many customers,” says Gionfriddo. These consumers are seeking high-quality lean protein, so highlighting cuts of Ontario pork comparable in fat content to boneless skinless chicken answers that need.
And the store’s focus on healthy-yet-delicious offerings is paying off—online Mississauga media outlet insauga.com recently voted Michael-Angelo’s as one of the top five independent grocery stores in Mississauga.
Of local importance
Another important piece of the Michael-Angelo’s pie is support for our local economy, which, says Gionfriddo, “resonates strongly with the customer.”
Michael-Angelo’s emphasizes continuing education in local food matters for all of its buyers—from farm visits to interviews with key players in the local food landscape.
In fact, Gionfriddo recently visited a local hog farm and was impressed with the amount of technology involved in raising hogs—from the science behind animal nutrition to the daily care from Ontario farmers as they produce safe, hormone-free pork.
This behind-the-scenes view gives Gionfriddo the confidence in selling Ontario Pork at Michael-Angelo’s. “A lot more consumers want to buy more locally raised and processed pork than out-of-country—or even out-of-province—pork, for that matter,” he says.
Certified Ontario farm to forchetta
Fresh, local foods are highlighted in two ways in Michael-Angelo’s meat department:
- Ontario pork products are highlighted with point-of-sale (POS) materials, including Ontario pork dividers for the case and Ontario pork meat labels
- Michael-Angelo’s own “Farm to Forchetta – sourced fresh, sourced local” persona stamp
The Ontario Pork POS materials are available at no cost for retailers and retail organizations. The easily identifiable green circle with the grey checkmark tells consumers that their pork is local, fresh, and raised on a family farm.