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BETHESDA, Md. -- Balducci's here plans to introduce gourmet Kobe-style meats at its deli counters this week, thanks to a partnership with Boise, Idaho-based Snake River Farms.
"What many consumers don't realize is that a vast majority of the 'Kobe' beef consumed in the U.S. is actually a cross between the breed of cattle raised in Japan (Wagyu) and America's Black Angus," said Balducci's senior director of produce and prepared foods Tim Whelan in a statement. "This American version of Kobe beef is considered better than prime -- the highest grade given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."
While a true Japanese Kobe steak is prohibitively expensive for most consumers, Snake River Farms' hybrid meat offers the same taste at a much lower price, Balducci's said. The producer's roast beef sells for $13.99 per pound, while the corned beef and pastrami sell for $12.99 per pound. The new selection will be delivered to Balducci's weekly, to ensure the highest level of freshness.
"The vast difference in quality, taste and texture is immediately noticeable, even compared to other prime deli meats," Whelan said. He added that Balducci's expects to introduce a series of Kobe sandwiches to their deli and prepared foods counter in the next few weeks.
Balducci's Food Lover's Market operates 10 stores on the Eastern Seaboard.