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Interesting Happenings in Meat Retail

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

January 11, 2021

Before I talk about changes coming at retailers let me give you an update on our newest bundle - *NEW* Winter Comfort Bundle.

We launched this bundle December 28th to our Coast route so they could make an order before the deadline closed Dec 30th. And then opened to all locations Jan 2nd. The launch closed Jan 4th. Forty-three bundles (almost 1000 pounds) were sold in 5-days. Most customers also bought additional items to include our new Seasonings from Bearded Butcher.

Our customers really like bundle options. And, we plan to offer more choices in the future. If you missed out on the launch of this new bundle - no worries! You can find it now listed as Winter Comfort Bundle with all the same products included less the 2# of free ground beef.

Since opening our USDA Poultry Processing Plant in 2019 we got on the mailing list of a magazine titled meatingplace (meatingplace.com). On page 24 they listed an article titled "Retailers Move To Capture Meat Margins".

Do you remember hearing about the lawsuits from retailers accusing processors like Tyson, Sanderson Farms, and others of price fixing or collusion?

Well, retailers believe the answer is to cut the large processors out of their supply chain by building their own processing capability.

Costco lead the way by building a $400 million, 400,000 sq. ft. chicken processing plant in Freemont, NE. This plant is capable of supplying half of Costco's chicken sales per year and are already planning a second plant.

In January 2020 Wal-Mart opened a $90 million, 200,000 sq. ft. beef processing plant in Thomasville, Georgia with the ability to trace meat back to the cow-calf producer. The author reported that 50% of Wal-Mart sales is food items which are a lower margin business for retailers. And, as you know, low prices have been the cornerstone of Wal-Mart's overall success.

So, what is NOT mentioned in the article?

Well, how about the way the chickens and beef are raised? At the volumes they are producing it is safe to say broilers are cramped inside buildings where they get all the feed they can eat, stand or squat in their manure for 8 weeks, and never see sunshine or breath fresh air.

Beef is no different! They are confined in crowded and muddy feedlots where they consume a diet that is not intended for a ruminant animal in order for them to grow "faster".

Since cheaper prices to gain market share is the objective then, retailers must also buy cheaper inputs to raise the animals. That means feed cost is critical. So, it is safe to say feed will definitely be GMO (sprayed with glyphosate chemical).

What about animal welfare? There is nothing humane about a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).

One of my college marketing classes taught the Four-P's of marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (thank you Dr. Ivy).

All the retailers referred to in the article concerned Price. Well, what about the QUALITY of the Product? How does the process improve nutrient density and thus the health of my family? Does your product help build & restore my immune system so I can be better protected from sickness and disease?

Our farm is very different than conventional farmers. We pride ourselves as stewards of the land and animals. Our regenerative practices are geared to continuously improve the health of our soils and thus the nutrient density of our products.

Our animals are raised "ON-PASTURE" with plenty of fresh air and sunshine vs. in confined permanent buildings with artificial lighting and ammonia filled air.

At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to raise a quality product that is nutrient dense and healthy for our customers.

People who are price shoppers are typically not our customers. However, informed families who are concerned about the quality of their food choices and health of their families make great customers for our farm.

Vaughn H. left this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Google Review:

"I am very happy with the items I have tried so far. The beef is fantastic as well as the pork. I am going to order more in the New Year. I have not tried the poultry products but if they are anything like the the beef and pork and I am sure to be satisfied. Thanks for what y’all do."

More from the blog

Are Foreign Imports "Local"?

It may surprise you that I do receive AND read several weekly newsletters from other farms that I know and trust. Last week, Paul Brown who owns Nourished By Nature in Bismark, ND (son of Gabe Brown) wrote a really good article on import beef and he agreed to let me share with my customers. So, here goes! If you recall, the last newsletter we sent out referred to the statistic that today, only 2% of the population in the US produces food for the entire country (plus imports) as compared to 17% in 1940. This is unprecedented and it makes me wonder, what happened over the last 80 years? And where will we be in another 80? No wait, how about 10 years??? Will all US food production be outsourced?

Product Updates & More

First, a quick followup from last week's email where I shared my letter to Sec. Watson. This generated a lot of interest and response from our customers - ALL very positive and thankful for us taking the stand we do. Several customers also shared that they were personal friends with Sec. Watson and would contact him regarding our farm. So far, I have not heard from him. Cindy shared the following: Thank you for speaking out about issues that many of us are very upset about and feel like we have no voice. Hopefully, Secretary Watson will actually do something. In my opinion, Farm Bureau is against most Mississippians. They were against the illegal land sales to the Chinese and other foreign countries who want to harm us. I was at the meeting at the Capitol a few months ago and saw it firsthand. They are against any legislation to protect pets, such as dogs and cats, from animal abusers, in addition to the chicken and dairy issues you mentioned above. I am no fan at all of Farm Bureau. They are a detriment to our state. But they have a powerful lobby and lots of friends in influential places . And lots of farmers, big farmers, are fans. I have always been a fan of ag commissioner Gipson and I expect he will run for governor one day. I’m not sure if it’s a political play, but it seems that he is quiet on most of these issues. One exception is the Land deals, because he did chair those groups and hold the hearings.

Letter To Sec. Watson MS Secretary of State

This week I received an email from Sec. Watson regarding his offices' plan and successes in eliminating administrative and MS Code bottlenecks that hold back business growth. He also asked for input on areas that affect our business. Have you ever heard the saying, "Be Careful What You Ask For?" Well, here is my response to Sec. Watson. I'm still waiting to hear back from him - which I truly hope will happen. Sec. Watson, first let me thank you for aggressively tackling these tough issues. Too many politicians today are mere pawns of