Walmart will open a milk processing plant and create 400 jobs south of Waco

Walmart is evolving its supply chain to include the production of its own branded food.

The largest US supermarket chain is spending $350 million to open a milk processing plant in Robinson and create 400 new jobs by 2026.

The facility, located just south of Waco, will supply more than 750 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the region, the retailer said in a statement Thursday.

The facility will make dairy products under the Great Value and Members Mark brands, using ingredients sourced primarily from Texas dairy farmers, said Bruce Heckman, vice president of Walmart Manufacturing.

“This new facility continues our commitment to building a more resilient and transparent supply chain and ensuring our customers’ needs are met for this everyday product,” Heckman said in a statement.

This is the third dairy plant for Walmart, which started investing in food production just a few years ago.

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It is common for traditional grocers such as Kroger, Albertsons and HEB to have their own milk processing plants and other food production facilities for their private label foods, from canned goods to potato chips.

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Walmart has traditionally focused on national brands and in recent years has built its Members Mark brand at Sam’s Club and the Great Value label at Walmart. Many private label brands are made by major national food brands and smaller, independent copacking companies.

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Walmart opened its first milk processing plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2018, and a second one in Valdosta, Georgia, last year.

Other facilities include the first beef plant in Thomasville, Georgia, and a second in Olathe, Kansas. Walmart has also made equity investments and long-term contracts with Sustainable Beef LLC and vertical farming company Plenty.

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