US retail giant Walmart is making further inroads to build a “resilient” supply chain with plans for another milk-processing facility.
The upcoming new plant in Valdosta, Georgia, adds to an existing milk site Walmart opened in 2018 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, while the retailer has also ventured into other projects for meat packaging in the US.
Walmart said work on the Valdosta facility will start “later this year”, creating 400 local jobs, with product innovation a “core” concept.
Ingredients will be sourced from farmers in the vicinity for a variety of milk- processing options, including skimmed and chocolate milk destined for more than 750 Walmart stores and its Sam’s Clubs outlets. The milk will be produced for its own Great Value brand and Sam’s Clubs Member’s Mark lines.
The Valdosta project – for which the investment amount was not disclosed – “will bolster our capacity to meet the demand for high-quality milk”, Walmart said in a statement.
It added the new site emphasises “Walmart’s commitment to building a more resilient and transparent supply chain”, and, what the retailer described as “an important milestone to delivering on our commitment to provide customers access to the high-quality milk they expect at the everyday low prices they rely on”.
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Walmart announced an investment in June for a beef packing facility in Olathe, Kansas, creating 600 jobs and set to be operational in 2025.
The plant will package and distribute cuts of Angus beef from Sustainable Beef, a rancher-owned company based in Nebraska. Walmart acquired a minority stake in the ranch-based beef processing plant last August, which is expected to be functional in late 2024.
“We first announced our ambitions to create an end-to-end supply chain for Angus beef in 2019, with the goal of providing more options for customers seeking higher-quality meat,” Walmart said in June as it announced the Kansas project.
“Since then, we’ve implemented strategies to ensure our customers can purchase excellent beef that delivers tremendous value with last year’s equity investment in Sustainable Beef.”
Early in 2020, Walmart also opened a 201,000 square-foot Angus beef-processing facility in Thomasville, Georgia, bringing in 200 new jobs for the local area.
Walmart has also funnelled cash into the fresh produce supply chain as it invested in California-based vertical-farming business Plenty Unlimited last year as part of a $400m funding round.