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    Stop & Shop Rolls Out 'Smart Seal' MAP Ground Beef

    QUINCY, Mass. -- The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. here said last week it would introduce ground beef in "Smart Seal" Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) to 325 of its stores May 11, with a companywide roll out to be completed by mid-July.

    QUINCY, Mass. -- The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. here said last week it would introduce ground beef in "Smart Seal" Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) to 325 of its stores May 11, with a companywide roll out to be completed by mid-July.

    "With Smart Seal ground beef, customers don't have to worry if they have to postpone grilling their burgers because of rain," noted Stop & Shop v.p. of meat and seafood Roger Wheeler. "Instead, they can keep their ground beef in the refrigerator and grill a few days later without worrying about losing product flavor."

    The company said the FDA-approved packaging process seals in freshness, quality, taste, and color, keeping ground beef fresh for days longer than meat packaged in-store. Stop & Shop said the program offers customers greater flexibility for meal planning, as the ground beef can be refrigerated longer without needing to be frozen.

    The MAP process removes oxygen from the package and replaces it with a mixture of other gases, sealing in flavor and freshness. The airtight package permits the beef to be frozen for up to six months with minimal risk of freezer burn, and also keeps juices from leaking from the package, so refrigerators and freezers stay cleaner.

    The grocer will offer the Smart Seal ground beef in small and family packages, in varieties from 75 percent to 93 percent lean. The process also will be used for five-pound packages of 75 percent lean beef, ground sirloin, meat loaf mix, and ground beef patties. Stop & Shop's "Nature's Promise" brand ground beef products will also be packaged using the Smart Seal method.

    In other news, on Friday the grocer unveiled new, reduced prices for hot, cold, and natural cereals, granola, breakfast and fruit bars, and wholesome snacks, in the latest phase of Stop & Shop's "Value Improvement Program" (VIP). Designed to deliver low everyday prices and "great promotions" to customers, VIP, which since its launch in September 2006 has been rolled out to the produce, paper, baby, and cleaning supply departments, will continue across categories in coming months.

    Stop & Shop employs more than 58,000 associates and operates 385 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey.

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