Walmart debuts private label beef in US as avocado consumption hits record highs

US – American multinational retail corporation Walmart has debuted a private label beef line called McClaren Farms in stores across the Southeast as it looks to offer customers with responsibly raised, “steakhouse quality” meats.

The new beef line is produced in partnership with Bob McClaren of Prime Pursuits, and is currently available in almost 500 stores across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.

The line’s products include USDA Choice Angus filet mignon, T-Bone, porterhouse, ribeye, short ribs and chuck roast.

McClaren Farms is an outgrowth of the end-to-end beef supply chain program the retailer announced in 2019 in a bid to expand its fresh grocery items.

The line’s launch comes at the beginning of grilling season, when millions of consumers will be flocking to meat departments in search of prime cuts and follows beef processor JBS’ cyber attack that briefly shut down several of its U.S. facilities.

McClaren Farms is also entering the market at a time when preference for private label fresh proteins is at an all time high.

According to the latest Power of Meat report from the Food Industry Association, 24% of consumers say they prefer private brand fresh meat and poultry compared to 28% who prefer name brands.

Millennials, Gen X and baby boomers preferred name-brand fresh meat and poultry over private label, according to the report, while Gen Z shoppers were the outlier, with 39% saying they prefer private label over name brands, indicating a selling opportunity for Walmart and other retailers.

Bringing production in-house is also expected to boost Walmart’s supply chain efficiencies which have to a certain degree affected by the pandemic.

A number of other retailers including Kroger and Albertsons own their own dairy production facilities, while Costco controls poultry production for its popular US$5 rotisserie chicken line.

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Insatiable appetite for avocadoes

Meanwhile, US consumers have developed an insatiable appetite for avocadoes sending monthly shipment of avocadoes to the North American nation to new record highs.

According to data from Rabobank, monthly shipments of avocados to the U.S. set a new record in January 2021 at nearly 320 million pounds, representing a 33% year-over-year increase.

According to the bank, per-capita consumption of the fruit has more than doubled between 2010 and 2020 to hit more than 8.5 pounds per year, and could surpass 11 pounds per person by 2026.

Interest in healthy eating is driving demand along with restaurant reopenings and a boost in economic activity as pandemic restrictions lift, says Rabobank.

With demand remaining high, avocado prices are expected remain higher than in 2020 with shipments for 2021 and 2022 expected to be up 12% compared to the three-year average for 2018 to 2020. 

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