Are you curious about where Walmart’s grass-fed beef comes from?
As consumers, we want to know what we’re putting into our bodies and where it’s coming from. Walmart’s Marketside Butcher brand offers grass-fed beef, but where does it actually come from?
In this article, we’ll explore the origins of Walmart’s grass-fed beef and the standards it meets. We’ll also take a closer look at the grass-fed beef market and how Walmart fits into it.
So, let’s dive in and discover the source of Walmart’s grass-fed beef.
Where Does Walmart’s Grass Fed Beef Come From?
Walmart’s grass-fed beef is sourced from two large cattle-ranching families based in Utah and Wyoming. These families have been farming cattle for over five generations and are committed to providing a natural and tasty product.
The beef is sold under Walmart’s Marketside Butcher brand, which is owned by Walmart. The company began creating its own supply chain to sell no-hormone-added angus beef cuts at stores in the Southeast, working with Texas rancher Bob McClaren of 44 Farms and Prime Pursuits to source cattle raised on family farms and ranches.
Creekstone Farms processes the cattle at its facility, and FPL Foods operates Walmart’s case-ready packing plant in Georgia, where the meat gets packaged and sent to the stores. The 201,000-square-foot packing facility, in Thomasville, Ga., opened in early 2020.
It’s important to note that Walmart sources all of its meat from North America. The majority of the meat sold in Walmart stores will be from the United States, whether it has been processed, packaged, and distributed by third parties such as Tyson Foods Inc and Cargill Inc or by Walmart itself.
What Does Grass-Fed Beef Mean?
Grass-fed beef refers to meat from cattle that have been primarily or exclusively fed non-grain feedstuffs throughout their lifetime, with an emphasis on free-range grazing. The term “grass-fed” implies that the animal is also grass-finished, meaning it is brought to a desired carcass weight and yield grade through a non-grain, forage-based diet. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s standard for a “grassfed” beef animal is that it be 50% grass-fed. This means that some cattle labeled as “grass-fed” may have been fed grain at some point in their lives, or may not have been fully pasture-raised.
It is important to note that grass-fed beef is often associated with other expectations, such as being all-natural, vegetarian, hormone-free, and so on. While these expectations may be accurate in many cases, they are not always consistent with the core standards of what grass-fed/grass-finished should be.
Consumers who choose grass-fed beef often do so for health and environmental reasons, as grass-finished beef is lower in calories and higher in nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA’s, and Vitamins A and E. It’s important to understand the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished when shopping for beef to ensure that you are getting the product you desire. At Walmart, their grass-fed beef is sourced from two large cattle-ranching families based in Utah and Wyoming and sold under the Marketside Butcher brand.
Walmart’s Grass-Fed Beef Standards
Walmart’s grass-fed beef is labeled as such because the animals have only grazed on grass their entire lives. The company follows the USDA’s guidelines for grass-fed beef, which require that the animals are fed a diet of 99% grass and forage throughout their lives. The animals must also have access to pasture during the growing season, and cannot be confined to a feedlot.
Additionally, Walmart’s grass-fed beef is sourced from family farms and ranches that are committed to ethical and sustainable farming practices. These farms are located in Utah and Wyoming and have been in operation for over five generations. Walmart works with these farms to ensure that the animals are raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics.
The beef is processed at Creekstone Farms, a facility that is USDA-inspected and certified for humane handling practices. The meat is then packaged at FPL Foods’ case-ready packing plant in Georgia, which is also USDA-inspected and certified.
Walmart’s Grass-Fed Beef Suppliers
Walmart’s grass-fed beef is sourced from two large cattle-ranching families based in Utah and Wyoming. These families have been farming cattle for over five generations and have a deep understanding of the land and the animals they raise. They are committed to providing a natural and tasty product that meets Walmart’s high standards.
The cattle are raised on family farms and ranches that prioritize animal welfare and sustainability. The cows are free to graze on open pastures, and they are never given hormones or antibiotics. This ensures that the meat is not only delicious but also healthy and environmentally friendly.
Walmart works closely with these families to ensure that their meat meets Walmart’s strict quality standards. The company has a team of experts who visit the farms and ranches regularly to ensure that the animals are being raised in a humane and sustainable way.
Once the cattle are ready for processing, they are sent to Creekstone Farms, which is known for its high-quality meat processing facilities. Creekstone Farms processes the cattle at its facility, ensuring that the meat is handled with care and precision.
After processing, the meat is sent to Walmart’s case-ready packing plant in Georgia, where it is packaged and sent to stores across the country. FPL Foods operates this packing plant, which is a state-of-the-art facility that uses the latest technology to ensure that the meat stays fresh and safe during transportation.
Sustainability And Grass-Fed Beef
Many consumers are interested in grass-fed beef because of its perceived sustainability benefits. Grass-fed beef is often seen as a more environmentally friendly option because it does not require the use of corn or soy to feed the cattle, which means that no extra land will be cleared for their food. Additionally, grass-fed cattle can help trap carbon dioxide in the soil, which can help mitigate climate change.
However, while grass-fed beef has some sustainability benefits, there are also some downsides to consider. According to a 2018 Harvard study, a global shift toward a grass-fed system is unsustainable. Increasing grass-fed herds enough to cover the entire beef supply would require a 30 percent increase of the national cattle herd from 77 to 100 million. As it stands, our grassland resources can support only 27 percent of the national beef supply.
Additionally, grass-fed beef live longer, and so they produce more methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. There is also not enough evidence to support the idea that pasture-raised cattle sequester enough carbon to make it more sustainable than feedlot beef.
However, some proponents of grass-fed beef argue that returning cattle and other ruminants to the land for their entire lives can result in multiple benefits, including restoring soil microbial diversity and making the land more resilient to flooding and drought. Some recent studies have found carbon-trapping benefits of the grass-fed approach.
Ultimately, the sustainability of grass-fed beef depends on a variety of factors, including how it is produced and where it is sourced from. Walmart’s grass-fed beef is sourced from two large cattle-ranching families based in Utah and Wyoming who have been farming cattle for over five generations. While Walmart’s Marketside Butcher brand offers consumers an option for grass-fed beef, it’s important to consider all factors when making a decision about which type of beef is best for you and the environment.
The Growing Market For Grass-Fed Beef
The market for grass-fed beef is rapidly growing, with an estimated CAGR of 6.9% between 2022 and 2027. This growth is expected to increase the size of the market by USD 12.15 billion. Several factors are driving this growth, including the new product launches that are influencing grass-fed beef consumption, various health benefits of grass-fed beef, and the entry of new players in the market. The trend of cleaner meat consumption is also contributing to the growth of the grass-fed beef market, with consumers becoming more aware of the potential health hazards of the excessive usage of antibiotics on reared livestock.
The United States is a significant player in this market, with grass-fed fresh beef sales reaching $776 million from July 2020 to July 2021. The organic grass-fed meat segment is anticipated to exhibit the fastest growth rate due to its clean-label traits and strong retail positioning among consumers in developed markets. Grass-fed beef is healthier and more nutritious than conventional beef products and is considered a rich source of vitamin B6 & B3, selenium, carnosine & creatine, and zinc, making it a popular choice among meat lovers.
The availability of grass-fed meat in mass merchandisers is projected to increase rapidly in the foreseeable years owing to dedicated shelf-space, ability to store a wide range of products, and bundling discount strategies. The foodservice sector is projected to emerge as the most lucrative end-use segment in the global market, with increasing demand for sauces, glaze, marinades, baked products, and others made using premium quality meat across hotels and restaurants driving segment growth.
Top players in the global market such as JBS Foods, Tyson Foods, Australian Agricultural Company Limited, Hormel Foods Corporation, Cargill and Conagra Brands are projected to account for nearly 30% to 50% of global revenue share through 2031. Sales in North America are expected to rise at a CAGR of 3.3% through 2031, owing to the rising trend of consuming BBQ meat in the US. The market in Europe is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% over the assessment period due to the surging demand for premium quality meat in the UK and Germany.
Walmart’s Place In The Grass-Fed Beef Market
Walmart’s investment in sustainable beef shows its commitment to expanding its supply of grass-fed beef. The company is taking a minority stake in Sustainable Beef, a rancher- and beef producer-owned company that plans to open a processing facility in North Platte, Nebraska. Walmart will get the majority of beef produced at the facility, which is expected to open by late 2024. This deal means a larger, more consistent supply of beef, including better cuts, for Walmart’s meat department. The company will source Angus beef from Sustainable Beef, a type of beef that comes from a cattle breed often associated with more flavor because of its marbling.
Walmart’s Marketside Butcher brand offers grass-fed beef from two large cattle-ranching families in Utah and Wyoming. The company began creating its own supply chain to sell no-hormone-added angus beef cuts at stores in the Southeast, working with Texas rancher Bob McClaren of 44 Farms and Prime Pursuits to source cattle raised on family farms and ranches. Creekstone Farms processes the cattle at its facility, and FPL Foods operates Walmart’s case-ready packing plant in Georgia, where the meat gets packaged and sent to the stores.