I’m constantly amazed at the curiosity of human beings. Of course, I’m also constantly amazed at people’s gravitation toward “freebies,” so much so, that I often find myself frustrated and confused over the chasm I find in the approaches taken by the two stores at which I do the majority of my meat shopping.

The well-known club store gives samples and can offer the first-hand knowledge on how to cook or prepare items (throughout the store, not just in the meat/frozen foods departments). Every time I’m in there, I have to weave my way around the sample stations, because they are surrounded by curious folks trying some product. In this situation, the retailer and processors are creating buzz and interest in their product, and possibly even loyal customers.

Variety is another bonus of the club store, where I’ve been able to purchase and try such items as bison steaks, pepper steak and potato pot pies, among others in the meat space alone.

On the other hand, my local, well-known grocery supermarket chain store leaves much to be desired. What frustrates me about the supermarket chain is the perceived lack of effort in educating the average consumer. More than a year ago, the supermarket stopped selling Flat Iron steaks, much to my chagrin, and they really didn’t offer much in the way of “interesting” cuts.

Personally, I think it had to do with consumers being uneducated about this cut, as I’d never seen any sampling or promotion around it. Only those consumers who have some knowledge of the cut or are curious enough to try it on their own would have picked it out among the sea of red meat in the case. But it goes beyond the Flat Iron, and beyond this supermarket. When I talk to some of my meat-loving friends, some of them have never bothered to try such basic cuts as flank or round steaks — these are guys who love meat and love trying new cuts both in the house and on the grill.

Processors need to step in and assist retailers in developing sampling programs to create a buzz around even simple cuts, especially if retailers aren’t doing them on their own. In this economy, consumers want to cook more at home, so it behooves processors and retailers to let shoppers assess each cut’s tenderness level, flavor, etc.

These consumers want to cook more and do it better. They are open to expanding beyond just a filet or strip steak. Processors and retailers need to tap into their curiosities and offer them a first-hand experience, there in the stores, where they are open to trying something new.

In the end, it’s what Michael Scott of “The Office” might call a “win, win, win.” And it would be one of the few that truly pleased all three facets of the chain.