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Nine-store, Kowalski’s Markets today is rolling out Akaushi Beef, which it boasts is the “world’s best-tasting beef,” on an exclusive, limited-time basis. In an e-mail sent to customers this week, the Woodbury, Minn.-based upscale regional grocer declared: “We’re giddy with excitement, literally counting the minutes until Akaushi takes center stage in our Meat Department.”
The well-respected Twin Cities-area grocer had started taking reservations for the exclusive Akauski (pronounced “ah-ka-oo-shee” and roughly translated from Japanese to mean “red cow”) in advance of its much heralded arrival, which was supported in the local market with a $30,000-to-$40,000 media budget for print and radio ads, according to published reports.
“I’ve tried a lot different beef, and this one just blew me away,” Kowalski’s meat and seafood director Boyd Oase was quoted as saying in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Two to three grades higher than the company’s current top beef offerings, Akauski “has a very, very rich buttery flavor,” noted Oase. “It’s all 100 percent prime.”
Priced at $39.95 per pound for rib eye and $7.99 per pound for ground beef, the beef will be available in a variety of cuts.
In explaining the beef’s “melt-in-your-mouth” flavor, texture and tenderness attributes on its Web site, Kowalski’s said top chefs from all over the globe routinely proclaim Akaushi the best-tasting beef in the world, hands down. Its “natural buttery flavor and fork-tender texture” is only half the story of the premium protein, according to Kowalski’s, which also discussed the “carefully guarded herd [that] is free of antibiotics and any added hormones. All animals are treated humanely.” This special treatment results in “[a]n [eating] experience you can’t wait to share,” according to Kowalski’s
The specialized beef made its way to the United States in 1994 due to a loophole in the trade Act of 1992 between the U.S. and Japan. A small nucleus of Akaushi cows and bulls were brought to the United States in a specially equipped Boeing 747. Today, Akaushi genetics are controlled by a group of Texans under the name HeartBrand Beef, Inc.