business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Buffalo News reports that, faced with the bankruptcy and shutdown of irradiation process supplier SureBeam, companies like Wegmans and Tops Markets have stopped selling irradiated ground beef, but are actively looking for another supplier.

Wegmans notified customers that it wasn't selling irradiated ground beef via its website and in-store signage; it also used data from its frequent shopper program to notify customers who had bought the product. According to the paper, Tops said that demand for irradiated ground beef had been limited and that the shutdown wouldn’t have much of an impact.
KC's View:
The SureBeam bankruptcy came as something of a surprise, since for a while it seemed like every other day one chain or another was announcing that it would be using the SureBeam process - a concentrated beam of electrical energy - to irradiate beef. It would seem, at least from the outside, if that someone comes along and buys SureBeam's assets, it would have a built in customer base.

We also couldn’t help but notice the difference in tone between the Wegmans and Tops approaches to the subject. For Tops, it seems to be just another product line that ran out…if a replacement can be found, fine. If not, c'est la vie.

But Wegmans, as we recall, made a big deal when it brought in irradiated beef, informing customers about the decision, educating them about the implications, and offering cooking and preparation suggestions. It isn’t a surprise that the company would take a similar approach to talking to its shoppers about why a product line has been discontinued and what the company is doing about it.