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08/31/2022

Walmart expands beef sourcing commitment with investment

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Rancher at sunset
Walmart is partnering with Sustainable Beef LLC.

Walmart is taking a minority stake in a rancher-owned Angus beef producer.

The discount giant is investing in Sustainable Beef LLC, a rancher-owned company based in North Platte, Neb. Walmart’s equity investment is part of a broader strategic partnership to source Angus beef from Sustainable Beef’s new beef processing facility. As part of the investment, Walmart will also have representation on Sustainable Beef’s board.

Walmart’s investment is intended to help Sustainable Beef open a beef processing facility in North Platte, Neb. The facility is expected to break ground in September 2023 and open by late 2024, creating more than 800 new jobs.

Sustainable Beef LLC will work with cattle feeders and ranchers to understand elements of the supply chain cycle, such as grain sourcing and grazing management. Animal care will follow the Five Freedoms (international animal care standards first adopted in 1965).

The companies also intend to follow a consistent approach to antibiotic use and reporting across herds in line with Walmart's Position on Antibiotics in Animals, which asks suppliers to adopt and implement American Veterinary Medical Association Judicious Use Principles of Antimicrobials.

Walmart extends Angus beef supply chain from farm to shelf

Walmart has been powering up its proprietary, end-to-end Angus beef supply chain during the past couple of years. In June 2021, the discount giant introduced McClaren Farms beef in nearly 500 stores across five Southeastern states - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.

McClaren Farms was Walmart’s first official release from its end-to-end Angus beef supply chain program it initiated in 2019. The new innovation aims to deliver quality beef options to Walmart customers while also heightening transparency and sustainability.

Walmart is stressing that its new beef supply chain will provide full visibility at every step from source to shelf, and be transparent to customers. According to the retailer, the new supply chain model is also designed to support ranchers by creating steady demand and stability in the marketplace.

“At Walmart, we are dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable beef to our customers, and an investment in Sustainable Beef LLC will give us even more access to these products,” said Tyler Lehr, senior VP of merchandising for deli services, meat and seafood, Walmart U.S. “We know Sustainable Beef LLC has a responsible approach to beef processing, one that includes creating long-term growth for cattle ranchers and family farmers. This investment provides greater visibility into the beef supply chain and complements Walmart’s regeneration commitment to improve grazing management.”

“We set out on a journey two years ago to create a new beef processing plant to add some capacity to the industry and provide an opportunity for producers to integrate their business of raising quality cattle with the beef processing portion of the industry and do it in a sustainable manner, said David Briggs, CEO of Sustainable Beef LLC. “During this journey we found that Sustainable Beef and Walmart aligned on continuing to improve how we care for our animals and crops and provide consumers the positive experience of enjoying quality beef.”