What Grade of Beef Does Walmart Sell? A Complete Guide to Understanding Walmart’s Beef Quality Standards

As one of the largest grocery retailers in the United States Walmart sells a massive amount of beef – over 530000 tons in 2021 alone! With so much beef moving through their supply chain, it’s only natural for customers to wonder what grade of beef does Walmart actually sell?

In this complete guide we’ll give you the inside scoop on the quality standards grade requirements, and inspection processes that dictate the grades of beef offered at Walmart stores across the country. You’ll learn how Walmart beef compares to competitors, what terminology like “Angus” really means, and how to select high-quality cuts for your family.

Let’s start with the basics of USDA beef grading so you know exactly what you’re getting when you stop by the neighborhood supercenter

A Quick Primer on USDA Beef Grades

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades all commercial beef according to a classification system. Only the highest grades are approved for sale as premium beef cuts at grocery stores. The top three tiers are:

  • USDA Prime – The highest rating, Prime beef is beautifully marbled, with abundant fat streaking that makes the meat exceptionally tender and flavorful. About 2-3% of all beef earns the Prime distinction. Due to high demand, prime cuts are often reserved for upscale restaurants, specialty butchers, and high-end grocers like Whole Foods.

  • USDA Choice – The most common grade of beef sold at retail. Choice beef has less marbling than Prime, but is still nicely flecked with fat throughout to ensure good taste and tenderness. Comprises over 50% of all graded beef in the U.S.

  • USDA Select – Leaner with less marbling than the higher grades, but still relatively tender and juicy. Makes up about 20% of all graded beef.

Below these top three tiers are USDA Standard and Commercial grades, which lack marbling and tenderness. Supermarkets very rarely carry these lower quality grades.

Now that you understand the grading hierarchy, let’s examine specifically how Walmart’s beef quality aligns within this system.

Walmart Sets a Minimum Standard of USDA Select for All Beef

Per Walmart’s own quality requirements, all fresh beef sold in their stores must meet Select grade or higher. This means you’ll never find the lower Standard or Commercial grades at Walmart, ensuring a baseline of flavor and tenderness.

Specifically, here is how Walmart’s beef breaks down by USDA grade:

  • Select – The vast majority of Walmart’s beef carries the Select rating. These cuts offer decent marbling and consistent quality at Walmart’s budget-friendly pricing. Great for family meals.

  • Choice – You’ll find some Choice beef at most Walmart locations, typically the more premium roasts and thicker steaks. Provides step up in richness and tenderness from Select.

  • Prime – Only offered at a handful of locations and usually limited to luxury cuts like ribeyes and filet mignon. Provides the highest quality beef eating experience.

While Prime availability is still minimal, Walmart does aim to carry more Choice beef to offer customers better quality options.

How Walmart’s Beef Quality Compares to Competitors

Independent surveys of grocery chains demonstrate how Walmart’s everyday beef quality stacks up:

  • Costco – Earns top marks for carrying abundant Prime and Choice cuts. Provides premium quality but with membership and bulk pack requirements.

  • Sam’s Club – Owned by Walmart so follows the same grade standards. Great for savings on bulk packs of family packs.

  • Kroger – Similar to Walmart with mostly Select and some Choice beef available. Priced slightly higher on comparable cuts.

  • Albertsons – Carries Choice beef but minimal Prime offerings. Does feature boutique dry-aged beef at higher price points.

  • Whole Foods – Leads for selection of Prime and grass-fed beef. However, prices are 50% or more than Walmart’s regular retail.

As you can see, Walmart competes well for everyday quality beef at affordable prices for most families. While connoisseurs will pay more for Prime, Walmart provides good value on Select and Choice grades.

Don’t Be Fooled – “Angus” and “Natural” Don’t Guarantee Prime Beef

When browsing the meat department, you’ll see labels like “Angus” and “All-Natural” used to market certain beef cuts. But don’t be misled – these terms don’t automatically mean Prime. Here’s what they actually indicate:

  • Angus – Simply means the cattle breed, know for its fine marbling. But Angus beef sold at Walmart is usually Select or Choice grade, not Prime.

  • Natural – Signifies no artificial ingredients added. However, the underlying beef still adheres to Walmart’s standard quality grades. Doesn’t denote higher quality grade.

  • “Grass-fed” and “Organic” are two other common label claims that indicate how cattle were raised, not beef grade. Bottom line – always check for an explicit USDA grade stamp to know the actual quality tier.

Quality Control: How Walmart Ensures Consistent, Fresh Beef

Maintaining quality standards across thousands of stores nationwide requires Walmart to implement tight supply chain oversight. Here are some of the processes and technology used:

  • On-site processing – Walmart owns a number of beef processing facilities to control quality first-hand. Employees oversee slaughter, fabrication, and packaging.

  • Rigorous specifications – Detailed standards govern how beef is handled, transported, and stored from ranch to store shelf. Temperatures must stay between 32-40°F.

  • Best-by dates – Packages show kill dates and use-by dates so customers know exactly when the beef was processed. Walmart pulls expired products daily.

  • Blockchain tracing – Walmart uses blockchain to digitally track each cut of beef back to the source farm for full accountability.

  • Daily store audits – Walmart conducts quality checks each day at store level, inspecting beef for proper temperature, freshness, and packaging.

While problems can occur rarely in a system this large, these controls ensure your neighborhood Walmart has consistently sound, fresh beef every day.

Grading Your Own Walmart Beef

If you really want to geek out on beef quality, here are some tips for personally evaluating the grades of Walmart beef:

  • Examine marbling – Look for thin white streaks of fat integrated throughout the red meat. More numerous streaks indicate higher grades like Prime or Choice.

  • Assess texture – Higher grades feel slightly soft to the touch versus leaner Select beef that’s firmer. Press your finger gently on cuts to compare.

  • Consider meat color – Prime and Choice beef will be bright cherry red. Lower Select beef appears slightly darker in tone.

  • Check transparency – Top grades like Prime will look slightly translucent, while Select has more opacity. Hold cuts to light to observe this factor.

  • Evaluate marinade absorption – Higher graded cuts with more marbling absorb sauces and seasoning better when cooking.

Ask your Walmart butcher for help locating Choice grade beef for your next special meal. With a bit of know-how, you can find excellent quality beef for your family!

Deciphering the Date Labels on Walmart Beef Packaging

Understanding the labeling on those plastic-wrapped foam trays of meat helps ensure you select the freshest beef:

  • Sell-by date – Indicates the last day the store should display and sell the beef. Used by retailers for stock rotation.

  • Use-by/freeze-by date – Recommends when consumer should cook or freeze the beef for peak quality. Typically, this date is 5-7 beyond the pack date.

  • Pack date – Shows when the processor packaged the beef. Beef lasts 5-7 days from pack date when refrigerated.

  • Born on date – Some labels include the date the animal was harvested. Allows tracing back origin for quality assurance.

Ideally, choose beef with a use-by date as far in the future as possible for maximum freshness. Cook within 5 days of purchase for best flavor and texture.

How Often Does Walmart Restock Beef?

Walmart’s huge scale requires daily deliveries to keep beef cases fully stocked nationwide. Here are some tips on timing:

  • Visit early morning around 7-8 am for freshest selection. Overnight stockers refill cases and trays.

  • Stop by midday when new deliveries arrive, especially for popular items like ground beef that sell fastest.

  • Evening restocking around 4-6 pm gets cases ready for the dinner rush.

  • 24-hour Walmarts replenish high-volume beef continuously around the clock.

  • Ask the meat department manager when they normally receive shipments and schedule accordingly.

With some planning around beef delivery schedules, you can shop with confidence that the meat department will have optimum freshness and availability.

Getting the Best Value on Walmart Beef

While Walmart aims for everyday low prices, there are still ways to maximize savings on beef:

  • Opt for store brand over national brands to save up to 20% on comparable quality. Great Value or Sam’s Choice for example.

  • Choose family bulk packs over individual portions for the deepest discounts per pound. Divide into meal sizes at home.

  • Look for special markdowns on “Manager’s Special” packs approaching sell-by dates for quick use.

  • Buy less expensive primal cuts like brisket, chuck roast, or flank steak and trim/portion the meat yourself.

  • Take advantage of mobile app “Rollback” offers for beef to save instantly at checkout.

  • Resist impulse buys on higher priced beef and stick to your shopping list for optimal spending.

With some strategic shopping, you can serve up serious steakhouse flavor at Walmart savings.

Satisfying the Extended Family With Walmart’s Range of Specialty Beef Cuts

From barbecues to birthdays, Walmart can supply the beef for any big family gathering with their immense selection:

  • Ground beef – All types like 80/20, 90/10, Angus, grass-fed. 5 pound logs for big batches.

  • Steaks – T-bones, strips, filet mignon, flat irons, flank, skirt. Thick restaurant cuts.

  • Roasts – Prime rib, tri-tip, chuck, rump. Giant roasts up to 15 pounds for carving.

  • Short ribs – Meaty English style, thin flanken, or Korean kalbi.

  • Brisket – Trimmed or untrimmed packs. Ideal for smoking or braising.

  • Organ meat – Oxtails, beef tongue, liver, sweetbreads. For cultural recipes.

From weekend barbecues to holiday feasts, Walmart can supply quality beef for the whole family. Know your options and plan ahead.

Can You Really Buy Beef Online From Walmart?

Many customers are surprised to learn that Walmart offers full online ordering for curbside pickup or home delivery – including fresh beef! Here are some tips for successfully buying beef online:

  • Browse the beef selections online or via the Walmart app to confirm availability in your local store.

  • For pickup, choose a convenient date/time slot to swing by and have beef loaded directly into your car.

  • Select expedited delivery with insulated cold packs to ensure beef arrives chilled.

  • Inspect all beef packs at pickup/delivery for proper temperature and freshness before accepting.

  • Rush beef home to refrigerator or freezer immediately. Cook within 2 days for max freshness.

  • Enjoy convenience of buying beef from home. No crowds to wrestle!

Ordering beef online is a great option for busy families. Just take precautions to guarantee your meat stays cold and cooks it promptly.

Is Walmart Beef Really 100% American?

With confusing news reports circulating about beef origins, many Walmart shoppers want reassurance that their beef is domestically sourced. Rest assured, Walmart long ago implemented a strict policy requiring all fresh beef sold in their US stores to come from cattle born, raised, and harvested in the United States.

Here are some of the ways Walmart ensures beef integrity:

  • Careful auditing of all beef suppliers according to Walmart’s “Domestic Source Verification” program. Suppliers must confirm cattle are US-born.

  • Regular DNA testing on beef samples by Walmart and USDA to validate the cattle are in fact American breed stock.

  • Detailed tracking of each animal through the supply chain via USDA-approved RFID tags and Walmart’s own blockchain database.

  • Transparent labeling so customers can clearly identify the rare packs of specialty beef that may come from outside the US.

So shop Walmart beef with confidence knowing it directly supports American ranches, feedlots, and meat processing plants.

The Takeaway – Walmart Beef Offers Quality and Variety for Everyday Meals

What insights can beef-loving customers take away from this comprehensive guide to Walmart’s beef program?

  • All beef sold meets a baseline of USDA Select, with increasing amounts of Choice grade beef also available.

  • Walmart competes well for quality and freshness at family budget prices versus grocers like Kroger and Albertsons.

  • Carefully controlled processing and stringent auditing ensures reliable beef from stores coast to coast.

  • Shoppers can explore a vast array of beef cuts, from everyday ground beef to exotic short ribs and beef bacon.

  • Convenience of online ordering makes grabbing family staples like ground chuck even easier.

So next time your clan gets a hankering for juicy burgers or slow-cooked pot roast, head to Walmart to find the beef your home cooks will love. With a bit of know-how, you can serve up steaks with serious gourmet quality at savings that can’t be beat!

Never Buy Ground Beef At Wal-Mart And Here’s Why


What is the quality of Walmart beef?

Unfortunately, Walmart isn’t known for having the highest quality of meat (via Mashed). In 2015, the multinational retail corporation ranked 67 out of 68 by Consumer Reports for quality and freshness. Walmart has also had several recalls on their beef over the years for safety reasons in 2016, 2018, and 2022.

What is the most common grade of beef sold in grocery stores?

Choice. About 65% of graded beef is choice, and it’s the most common grade you’re likely to see at your grocery store. Choice beef has moderate marbling and is perfectly tender, flavorful and juicy.

Where does the beef from Walmart come from?

Walmart sources beef from a variety of suppliers, including large-scale industrial farms, regional suppliers, and, in some cases, local farms. The specific sources can vary based on factors such as location, product availability, and the scale of Walmart’s operations in a particular region.

What grade is supermarket beef?

Standard grade beef is often sourced from a more mature cow (age between 30-42 months) and will only have slight traces of marbling. It is often ungraded or listed as store-brand meat and is usually the most affordable option sold in a grocery store.

What kind of meat does Walmart sell?

In response to rising popularity, Walmart continues expanding offerings of certified organic and grass-fed meat: Organic beef and chicken – Typically limited to ground and whole bird forms, and pricier than conventional. Grass-fed beef – Small selection including ground beef and some steaks.

Does Walmart have the best beef?

Unfortunately, Walmart isn’t known for having the highest quality of meat (via Mashed ). In 2015, the multinational retail corporation ranked 67 out of 68 by Consumer Reports for quality and freshness. Walmart has also had several recalls on their beef over the years for safety reasons in 2016, 2018, and 2022.

Should you buy beef from Walmart?

Walmart beef tends to be lower quality with more risks around freshness and taste. Buying it comes with the biggest gamble. Frozen poultry and meat, canned meats, and plant-based alternatives are safer best. Always thoroughly inspect, properly handle, and fully cook any meat from Walmart as a precaution.

Does Walmart sell Angus beef?

Walmart is now offering Angus beef in all U.S. stores at no extra cost to consumers, according to Bloomberg. The nation’s biggest grocer has been working with meat giants including Tyson Foods and Cargill for more than a year to secure supply of Angus steaks and roasts.

Leave a Comment