Amazon Meets with Ranchers to Expand Organic Meat Distribution
According to the Organic Trade Association, U.S. sales of organic meat and poultry increased by 17% last year, it’s fastest annual growth ever. This shows huge promise for the product categories that CFFP illuminated as investible opportunities in the PNW. Although the Ecotrust Market Research did not investigate organic meat production explicitly, producers contacted through the research such as Botany Bay Farms often incorporated organic practices into poultry and pork production by default of their farming philosophies. In other words, organic (both certified and uncertified) comes with the territory of alternative meat production systems for some producers in the PNW. Through its acquisition of Whole Foods, logistical experts like Amazon may meet key infrastructural gaps for local meat producers.
After its purchase of Whole Foods in mid June of this year, Amazon is planning to meet with a group of US ranchers seeking to expand distribution of organic and grass-fed meats. Participating ranchers include Will Harris of White Oak Pastures in Georgia, who is excited about the increased efficiency that Amazon is able to bring to processing, packaging, and distribution of his organic and grass-fed products. Other farmers are apprehensive about Amazon pivoting to source from abroad to lower costs of organic and grass-fed beef. Mark Smith of Aspen Island Ranch, who currently sells to Whole Foods through a cooperative, sums it up: “It could be as bad a shutting us out or as good as expanding our markets”.
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