This last link in the chain, known as “ready-to-use processing,” is not a major function of meat packaging, says Derrell Peel, an agricultural economist at Oklahoma State University. The so-called Big Four meat packers — Tyson, Cargill, JBS and Marfrig, who together slaughter more than 80 percent of U.S. cattle — depend on their enormous size and often send their carcasses to other companies to make supermarket-ready cuts. Therefore, Walmart`s entry into Black Angus is unlikely to disrupt the beef industry. Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., will enter the beef business. This afternoon, the Arkansas-based company will take a remarkable step for a food supplier: the opening of a 200,000-square-foot meat packaging plant built specifically for processing Black Angus beef. According to Thomasville Times-Enterprise, the Thomasville, Georgia plant is the company`s first such facility. In April 2019, Walmart announced a partnership with Creekstone Farms, farmer Bob McClaren of 44 Farms and Prime Pursuits and Mc6 Cattle Feeders. According to the report, the involvement of these top animal companies and the use of their expertise gives Walmart valuable insight into beef production. Walmart continued its investments in the beef supply chain by opening a beef production plant in Thomasville, Georgia, last January. Headquartered in Augusta, Georgia, FPL Foods LLC operates the plant that serves as a distribution center for a selection of Angus beef cuts such as steaks and roasts from the new supply chain at 500 Walmart stores in the Southeast, including Georgia, Alabama and Florida. CoBank said Walmart could take another step in the beef supply chain if the supply chain and factory on a case-by-case basis succeed.
The possibility of Walmart being a beef producer and processor is fascinating, but CoBank noted that U.S. cattle producers, feeders and packers are unlikely to have a significant impact in the near future. But Walmart sees an opportunity to capture margin at a time when processors` margins are historically high. Other actors in the supply chain should take note of this. “It`s complex and it`s not something an individual can easily do. But this process of branding a product can work in different ways. It is a model. And it`s very unique because it`s a retailer that uses the creation of its own value chain within the beef industry. Once cattle are fed — either in Texas or at a Nebraska feeding ground, according to The Progressive Farmer — they are slaughtered at Creekstone Farms, a Black Angus specialist in Kansas with its own line of branded beef. From there, they are packaged and processed at Walmart`s new factory in Georgia, which is operated by a company called FPL Food.
The product line will create more than 450 new jobs at sites in Kansas and Georgia, the retailer said in its press release. “We are seeing a continuous shift from beef as a commodity to its emergence in terms of product orientation,” he says. “Brand marketing can be done in a variety of ways, but overall, it increases the value of beef for the entire industry.