Chris - Which Sam's? For at least the last 5 years, Sam's has always carried "Choice or Better" graded meat.
They have launched the premium angus branding, the meat manager told us it was to give them a leg up on CostCo. They were hoping it would be a differentiator. they tested it in a couple markets last year, and I believe it is spreading to all the locations now.
You can differentiate based on packaging.... the "choice" is the blue labeling. In the Premium angus... the cryovac is black text, with USDA choice, and "Angus" on the cryovac. By the case, the label is brown and white and says premium angus choice or better.
In addition, some of the cuts are CAB - and have the CAB logo on the cryovac, and the black and white label in the case boxes.
I believe the Angus branded meat is supposed to be in the top 50% of choice.
The CAB is the top 8% of choice.
There are more and more of these sub-brands appearing, that guarantee a level above just "choice", edging you closer to prime. I think what it gets us is just a more consistent product. There is alot of variance between the bottom and top of "choice" beef... These angus branded products just raise the base bar - so you are staying away from the bottom end of choice.
Restaraunt depot is doing this as well... with "Superior Angus" branded beef. It too, is choice, but has a specification that to carry that brand tag, it has to be a notch above the entry standards for the choice grading.
So Chris, I would say, the Angus beef, is likely about the same as the meat they have always had... the occasional boxes of CAB cuts they get are nice. I have found the occasional Tenderloin, and Sirloin.... but they typically always have CAB flats. And those ROCK.
Andy /Smoke on Wheels Competition BBQ - www.smokeonwheels.com