With a new $275 million beef processing facility being built in Olathe, KS, with an opening of 2025 expected, Walmart plans to take a page from history by producing “case-ready” meat.

A half-century ago, Colorado’s Greeley Beef Plant was the first large-scale producer of what it called “boxed beef,” with specific cuts of beet, for restaurant and grocery store customers back East.

Today, case-ready meat, retail-ready meat, or pre-packaged meat is how the industry refers to fresh meat that is processed and packaged at a central facility and delivered store-ready for the retail meat case.

While Walmart can order case-ready cuts of meat from any number of producers these days, the fact that its first wholly-owned plant is going with case-ready products is not going unnoticed.

The “boxed beef” plant will bring 600 jobs to the Olathe area. “This is great news,” said Olathe Mayor John Bacon. “We’re thrilled that Walmart chose Olathe for its innovative facility. This huge capital investment will create more jobs that will greatly benefit the City of Olathe and our entire region.”

Olathe is the county seat of Johnson County, KS. It is the fourth-most populous city in both the Kansas City metropolitan area and the state of Kansas, with a 2020 population of 141,290.

Walmart Inc. is a retail chain of large, discount, department, and grocery stores that is headquartered in Bentonville, AR. It is already a huge purchaser of case-ready beef for its 4,700 U.S. stores with Angus beef from cattle using sustainable practices among its featured products.

The new Olathe facility will add to Walmart’s ability to control its supply chain. It follows the Walmart food production facility that opened in 2018 in Fort Wayne IN. The milk production facility supplies about 500 Walmart stores with milk products under the Great Value brand. The milk comes from dairy farms in Indiana and Michigan.

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