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FEEDSTUFFS IN FOCUS: How Walmart is shaking up beef supply chain

Walmart opened a new case-ready beef plant last month to process its new Angus beef supply chain. How will that move toward vertical integration change the industry?

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Last month Walmart officially entered the beef business when it opened a case-ready beef plant in Thomasville, Ga. The plant will process whole-muscle cuts produced by Walmart’s new Angus beef supply chain for 500 stores in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. As the largest grocery retailer in the U.S., Walmart’s move toward vertically-integrating part of its beef supply sent ripples through the industry.

In this episode of Feedstuffs In Focus we talk with Will Sawyer, lead animal protein economist at CoBank, about what Walmart’s move means for the beef supply chain in general, and how it compares to other similar moves by retailers such as Costco.

Sawyer recently authored a report on Walmart’s new beef plant in which he called the investment “more sizzle than steak” for now, but said that the development bears watching as much for how consumers react as for how it changes the dynamics of the supply chain.

At the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show earlier this month in San Antonio, Sawyer talked with Feedstuffs editor Krissa Welshans about Walmart and how this plant could lead to much bigger and more significant investments in the future. The two also discussed recent developments in plant-based and lab-grown meat alternatives.

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