Walmart Launches Unbranded Beef Program

Private Label, Private Brand, Store Brand, WalmartWalmart announced the launch of an assortment of USDA Choice Premium steaks, including T-bone, New York Strip, filet, ribeye, and top sirloin. This new steak offerings, offered at a “great price,” are available in Walmart’s US stores nationwide “just in time for the busy summer grilling season.” This undoubtedly marks the elimination of their existing beef Private Brand, “Genuine Steakhouse.”

Walmart selects the best USDA Choice cuts, tender-ages the steaks to perfection and, as it does for all of its steaks, makes sure they undergo rigorous USDA inspections for quality and safety. In fact, only one in five steaks are good enough to be called Walmart Choice Premium Beef. Despite the announcements reference to “Walmart Choice Premium Beef” the packaging and corresponding in store marketing is disturbingly generic and unbranded. There appears to be neither brand nor ownership, Walmart instead allows the USDA Choice symbol to serve as a beacon of credibility where they have traditionally had little.

Walmart is offering a “100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee.” If customers are not fully satisfied, they can bring back the receipt to receive a complete refund.

“Walmart now offers top-quality USDA Choice steaks at a great price,” said Scott Neal, vice president of fresh meat and seafood for Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. “We encourage customers to try the new USDA Choice steaks at Walmart’s everyday low prices, even if they haven’t considered Walmart for their steaks in the past. We believe in our new steak so much that we’re offering a full refund if a customer is not pleased.”

In conjunction with the new launch, Walmart said it is conducting a multi-city search for the chef with the best steak-grilling skills in the country. The Walmart Choice Steak Challenge, presented by Kingsford Charcoal and Coca-Cola, will decide “who grills the best steak in town.”

Participating chefs will be grilling ribeye steaks in the parking lots of Walmart stores in eight cities, the retailer said. The steaks will be tasted and judged by shoppers, who then will be treated to a Coca-Cola Zero, free of charge. One finalist from each of the eight cities — including Tampa, Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville and Atlanta — will be selected to compete in New York City on May 22 for top honors in a contest judged by champion pit master Chris Lilly and other food experts.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.