The plant in Fort
Wayne – 100 miles northeast of Indianapolis – will produce liquid milk for
around 500 of its stores across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
The milk itself is sourced from a network of nearly 30 dairy farms in Indiana
and neighbouring Michigan.
It is believed the
site will be the largest liquid milk facility of its kind anywhere in the US,
creating 300 jobs.
It will produce milk
for Walmart’s Great Value brand in whole milk, 1% and 2%-fat milk, skimmed milk
and 1%-fat chocolate milk varieties.
A spokesperson for
the retailer said the plant represented ‘a major investment’, but decline to
say exactly how much the plant had cost.
The company presented
the facility during a ceremony involving Indiana governor Eric Holcomb and
Walmart’s vice-president of food, Charles Redfield. Walmart had committed to
building a dairy plant in Fort Wayne as far back as 2016.
Redfield was quoted
by local radio station WBOI as saying: “This specific plant, it’s going to help
us provide really high-quality milk at really low prices. You know it’s also
making positive impacts not only to customers here in the state but also the
workforce and the economy.”
The plant, which
covers an area greater than 250,000 square feet, is located south of Fort Wayne
near the city’s airport.
Speaking when plans
for the facility were announced two years ago, Walmart’s senior vice-president
for sourcing strategy, Tony Airoso, explained the rationale behind the decision
to move into dairy production: “By operating our own plant and working directly
with the dairy supply chain in the Midwest, we’ll further reduce operating
costs and pass those savings on to our customers so that they can save money,”
“This facility is an
example of how we are always finding efficiencies within the supply chain to
deliver everyday low prices and high-quality groceries.”