The investment will help Sustainable Beef, a rancher-owned producer of Angus beef, bolster its business by opening a new beef processing facility expected to break ground next month and slated to open in late 2024, creating more capacity for the US beef industry. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed, but Walmart will have representation on Sustainable Beef’s board.
The investment is Walmart's latest effort to take greater control of its beef supply chain and help eliminate some of the shortages and capacity constraints impacting the beef industry. In 2020, the retailer opened an Angus beef facility in Georgia supplying beef to Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
“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 vice president of merchandising for deli services, meat and seafood, Walmart US.
“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.
Prices for food items have been on a continuous climb with beef as no exception registering a slight year-over-year price increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average price of all uncooked beef steaks per lb. was $9.71 in July 2022, up slightly from $9.67 in July 2021, and $8.70 in July 2020.
“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," said Lehr.
Sustainable Beef will work with cattle feeders and ranchers to understand critical elements of the supply chain cycle, such as grain sourcing, grazing management, and animal care.
“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," added Briggs.