Wal-Mart to enter the beef industry

Wal-Mart, the largest grocer and retailer in the United States, announced on Wednesday that it will begin to sell its own Angus beef in 500 stores across the southeast starting later this year.

The company said it will create it’s own end-to-end supply chain of no-hormone added Angus beef in response to customer demands of greater transparency in the sourcing of foods.

“Beef is an important purchase for our customer…it’s likely the most expensive item on their plate and they are treating themselves when they buy it,” said senior vice president of meat, Scott Neal, in a press release. “Creating this supply chain allows us to treat our customers by giving them unprecedented quality and transparency.”

Wal-Mart will be working with Texas rancher Bob McClaren of 44 Farms and Prime Pursuits to help them source cattle from family farms and ranches. Mc6 Cattle Feeders will reportedly be responsible for feeding them, while Creekstone Farms will process the cattle at their facility. FPL Foods will then package the beef before it’s sent to stores across the southeastern United States. In all, the endeavor will create over 450 new jobs between Creekstone Farms and FPL Foods.

Since the company’s new supply of Angus beef will only cover a portion of the country, Tyson and Cargill will provide most of Wal-Mart’s beef across the rest of the country.

Large retailors across the United States have recently begun to shift their focus to production and greater food supply visibility. Six months ago, competitor Cosco announced that it was creating its own poultry supply chain, and will account for 40% of that companies needs. A year ago, Wal-Mart announced that it took over a milk processing plant in Indiana, sourcing milk from three nearby co-ops and a small number of independent farmers for its own Great Value store brand.