Walmart Goes into the Beef Business For Itself
The retailer is creating a supply chain to provide beef to 500 of its stores.
Store brands have long been known as an easy way to save some pennies while grocery shopping. Sure, sometimes the no-name mac and cheese doesn’t quite live up to the Kraft version, but most of the time it’s pretty much the same products without the flashy ad campaigns and memorable jingles. But in the past year or so, major grocery retailers have started getting into the business of not only slapping their own label on products but taking over entire supply chains in order to maintain costs while ensuring the quality their customers have come to expect. Yesterday, Walmart announced one such initiative which will see the company partner with beef suppliers and processors to provide products exclusively to Walmart stores.
Since 2017, Walmart has sold only Angus beef, which it will continue to do, however for some locations' meat aisles, Texas-based 44 Farms and Prime Pursuits will grow the cattle, and Kansas-based Creekstone Farms and Georgia-based FPL Foods will handle processing and packaging, respectively. Currently, Walmart sources beef from major companies like Tyson and Cargill, according to CNBC, and will continue to do so as the new supply chain will only service about 500 stores’ needs in the southeastern U.S. The move is similar to Costco’s approach to its famed rotisserie chickens, which led the warehouse-style supermarket to build its own poultry growing and processing facility in Nebraska which will end up serving about 40 percent of that company’s needs and keep the birds selling at an appetizing $5 price point for the foreseeable future. And in addition to beef, Walmart is also in the dairy business, operating a plant in Indiana that supplies the stores’ private-label milk products.
And yet, Americans' dietary trends seem to be pushing in the opposite direction of both of Walmart's investments. Non-dairy milks from plants like oats and nuts are rising in popularity, as are plant-based beef replacements. Check out our taste test of grillable vegan burger patties from brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods here.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Walmart has carried "certified" Angus beef since 2017.