Marsh Supermarkets and PIC genetic company have teamed up to provide a new line of Indiana-grown pork products to consumers. Known as Marsh Signature Pork, the eight-to-14 different cuts will only be available in the stores’ prime-cut meat department. Marsh has premium meat cases in 58 out of 87 stores.

The new products are a collaboration between Marsh, PIC, Indiana Packers Corp. and certified Indiana pork producers, the first of which is White Oak Farms. Certified producers supplying the signature pork must meet herd health and quality standards established by Marsh Foods. Those standards address such things as the animal’s diet, manure management, animal handling and selection. IPC plays a role with its specialized handling, grading and processing abilities.

“The animals are from single-source genetics,” says Joe Leathers, vice president for consumer product marketing for PIC. The genetics in this case are PIC line 337.

Marsh worked with PIC on a consumer research project to confirm interest in a high-quality pork product. Customers expressed strong interest in a low-fat, Indiana-produced product. “I spent a lot of time behind the meat case talking to consumers,” says Leathers. “Consumers told us what’s most important to them is that the product is source verified and locally produced.” They also asked consumers what to name the product.

“This is a great example of the entire pork chain identifying and creating what the customer demands,” says Gregg BeVier, president of PIC USA.

Leathers looks for the project to start off with four to five producers supplying 600 to 900 pigs per week.

“This is the finest line of premium pork that we have ever sold in our stores,” says says Don Marsh, chief executive officer of Marsh Supermarkets, “and I believe it superior to any pork available anywhere in our market today.” Marsh will offer a 100 percent money back guarantee if a customer is not satisfied with the product.

Marsh wanted something to set it apart from its competition. PIC and the producers involved want to accomplish he same thing– not to mention the benefit of securing a market, and hopefully, more money. While the Marsh Signature Pork program is of course exclusive to Marsh Supermarkets, Leathers says that PIC may develop similar programs with other producers, packers and retailers in the future. Other producers, genetic suppliers, packers and retailers throughout the country also will develop other similar pork marketing programs. It is a positive trend for an evolving industry.