PW: Please describe the development of Wal-Mart’s case-ready meat program.
Burk: Our Supercenters provided meat cutters prior to our case-ready program being initiated. Our first Supercenter opened in 1988 and by August of 2001 all of our Super-centers and Neighborhood Market stores were carrying case-ready meat. Meat grinds are sold in packages with exact weights while muscle cuts are marketed at random weights as this seems to be preferred by our customers.
PW: What are the advantages of case-ready meats for Wal-Mart and its customers?
Burk: It utilizes the leading technology in the meat industry and it enables us to offer our customers the highest-quality packaging used in the grocery industry. It offers enhanced quality control because the product leaves the federally-inspected plant in a hermetically sealed package that isn’t opened until the customer takes the product home. With case-ready meats we are better able to track exactly what customers want in specific stores and make sure those cuts are [available].
PW: How does Wal-Mart select suppliers for case-ready packaging?
Burk: Wal-Mart uses several suppliers [that are] selected for a variety of reasons with geographic location being one since we try to use local suppliers when possible. —JB