Walmart plans to build a 250,000-square-foot milk processing plant in Fort Wayne, Ind. It is scheduled to open in summer 2017. The facility will serve more than 600 Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Northern Kentucky.
The facility will produce whole, 2%, 1% and skim milk as well as 1% chocolate milk for Walmart’s Great Value and Member's Mark brand for Sam’s Club. The retailer currently sells Great Value milk in both gallon and half-gallon sizes and Member’s Mark milk in gallon only.
Walmart’s new milk plant to create 200 jobs
The January 2016 Interstate Milk Shippers list from the Food and Drug Administration lists 12 milk processing plants in the state of Indiana. Dairy cooperative Prairie Farms, Carlinville, Ill., also operates a milk processing plant in Fort Wayne.
Walmart’s move follows that of competitor Meijer’s. In 2014, that mass retailer broke ground on the Purple Cow Creamery milk processing plant in Tipp City, Ohio, about 120 miles southeast of Fort Wayne.
(Search Dairy Plants USA for approved milk processing plants and bulk tank unit facilities.)
Walmart has not yet selected a building contractor and engineering firm, a company spokesman told Dairy Foods.
In a statement issued in March, Tony Airoso, senior vice president of sourcing strategy for Walmart U.S. said, “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.”
The company expects to create more than 200 jobs, including those in milk processing and transportation.