Global commodity trader, Minnesota-based Cargill Inc. has announced that they are completely phasing out of the beef industry.
The company, which is in the final stages of officially selling their last two remaining cattle rearing and feeding farms, should be feedlot-free by the end of this month. This marks the company’s complete departure from this aspect of the beef industry after having previously sold their other feedlots in July of 2016.
While remaining a leader in the industry primarily because of their agricultural commodity business and trading, purchasing and distributing products including grains, starch and oils, as noted on onegreenplanet.org, one of its biggest undertakings, until now, had been raising livestock and producing feed; ranking among the nation’s top four beef producers which combined, dominate more than 70% of the domestic market. They have put their old business model aside and are finally heading the plant-based route.
Cargill spokesperson Mike Martin explained that the company plans to “expand its North America-based protein business by exploring plant-based protein, fish, and insects, along with other opportunities linked to livestock and poultry.” We think they should leave out the fish & insects.
Numerous factors, such as wanting to work with higher margin products to increase profits, led the company to shift gears away from meat production and distribution and toward investing in plant-based protein.
John Keating, president of Cargill’s Wichita-based protein business operations and supply chain, confirmed in the Star Tribune that selling the remaining feed yards aligned with the company’s “protein growth focus” because it will now be able to invest its working capital, which is reportedly in the millions, in other areas.
The most important reason, as far as we are concerned, is that the company has finally begun to pay attention to the demands of modern day conscious consumers, which includes a significant number of animal welfare advocates, who want healthier and cleaner diets based on plant-based sources of protein.
According to a 2013 Mintel Report, referenced by onegreenplanet.org, in 2012, people had already been spending upwards of $500,000 per year on meat alternatives.
Undoubtedly the number has increased dramatically.