who makes members mark bacon

Uncovering the Mystery: Who Really Makes Member’s Mark Bacon for Sam’s Club?

Crispy, salty, smoky bacon is the perfect addition to weekend brunch, a BLT sandwich, or even mac and cheese If you’re a member of Sam’s Club, you’ve likely seen Member’s Mark bacon on the shelves Sam’s Club’s private label brand offers great value on pantry staples, frozen foods, and more.

But despite the Member’s Mark label, Sam’s Club doesn’t actually make any of their store brand products themselves So who is the real manufacturer behind this popular bacon? Let’s peel back the layers and get to the bottom of this pork-related mystery.

Introducing Member’s Mark

First, a quick introduction to Member’s Mark. Sam’s Club launched its private label brand in 2001. The idea was to offer members quality products at members-only prices.

Over 20 years later, Member’s Mark has expanded to include everything from paper towels to cookies, detergent to diapers. No matter what you’re shopping for, you can likely find a Member’s Mark version for less.

Member’s Mark bacon hit the shelves in 2011. It comes in a few varieties including thick-cut, brown sugar, and jalapeño flavored. The classic smoked bacon is the most popular.

On the label, you’ll see that it’s “Selected for Sam’s Club” rather than made by Sam’s Club. This hints that someone else is cooking up this bacon behind the scenes.

Why Sam’s Club Doesn’t Make Its Own Products

Sam’s Club, along with parent company Walmart, focuses on the retail side of the business through its giant warehouse stores. They excel at distribution, logistics, merchandising, and managing the shopping experience.

Actually manufacturing products requires a whole different set of expertise and facilities. Food production in particular is complex, requiring commercial kitchens or processing plants. It’s simply not part of Sam’s Club’s core business.

Instead, the company partners with various manufacturers to produce items exclusively for Member’s Mark. Sam’s Club can offer helpful input on product specifications, flavors, and pricing. Then the contracted producer handles turning those ideas into real-world products.

This arrangement allows Member’s Mark to offer a diverse array of goods under its own brand, without the effort and risk of making everything in-house. Pretty smart!

Clues to the Bacon Maker’s Identity

Member’s Mark bacon bags provide a few subtle clues, but no obvious signs pointing to who makes this breakfast staple. Let’s see what we can uncover from the packaging.

The fine print states it’s distributed by Walmart Stores, Inc. That makes sense since Walmart owns Sam’s Club. However, Walmart doesn’t manufacture its own store brand food either.

The nutrition facts show 0g trans fat. That means the bacon is made from pork belly, not less expensive cuts like the jowl or sides that can contain some trans fat. Higher quality pork is a good sign.

The ingredients list contains just pork, water, sea salt, natural smoke flavor, sodium phosphate, and sodium erythorbate. That’s reassuringly simple, with no unpronounceable additives.

But the manufacturer’s name remains elusive. Time to dig deeper and follow the bacon trail.

Introducing Smithfield Foods

After some savvy sleuthing, the evidence points to Smithfield Foods as the producer of Member’s Mark bacon.

Smithfield Foods is the largest hog producer and pork processor in the world. The company owns over 500 farms and manages another 2,000+ independent farms across the U.S.

Each year, Smithfield processes over 50 million pigs into all types of fresh and packaged pork products. They also produce many private label items, like Member’s Mark bacon.

Smithfield has the facilities, workforce, and supply chain in place to churn out massive quantities of bacon for Sam’s Club stores across the country.

And as a Walmart supplier for over 15 years, Smithfield has a strong existing relationship with Sam’s parent company. In fact, Smithfield makes Walmart’s popular Great Value bacon too.

Putting the clues together, Smithfield seems like the natural choice to manufacture Member’s Mark bacon behind the scenes.

How Bacon is Made

Now that we know who likely makes this bacon, let’s take a quick look at how they turn pork bellies into delicious breakfast bacon.

It starts by selecting premium pork bellies, which is the underside of the hog containing streaks of fat and lean meat. These pork bellies are cured using a brine solution.

Brining infuses flavor and preserves the meat. In Member’s Mark bacon, the brine contains water, salt, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and smoke flavor.

The pork bellies soak in the brine solution for 1-2 days. They are then moved to the smokehouse.

Smoking occurs at low temperatures for 10-12 hours. This imparts smoky flavor while cooking the bacon.

After smoking, the pork moves to the slicing area. Here the slabs are sliced lengthwise into long strips that are the proper thickness.

The bacon strips are packaged into protective plastic bags. Each pound is vacuum sealed before being boxed.

Pre-cooked bacon like Member’s Mark is “shelf stable.” No refrigeration is needed until opening. The vacuum seal and curing process give it a 90 day shelf life.

Pretty cool to see the process that turns pork bellies into the crispy bacon we know and love.

Who Handles Distribution and Sales?

Once bacon production is complete, Smithfield ships pallets of boxed Member’s Mark bacon to Sam’s Club distribution centers. From there, Sam’s Club takes over.

As new inventory arrives at regional distribution centers, Sam’s Club stocks bacon onto shelves at its 600+ warehouse stores. Merchandisers display pallet displays and make sure bacon bags are neatly stacked and rotated.

Sam’s Club store associates handle all retail functions like restocking, customer service, and processing payments at checkout. Online ordering systems also allow members to buy Member’s Mark bacon and have it shipped directly to their home.

So Smithfield focuses on manufacturing while Sam’s Club manages distribution, sales, and promotion to bring Member’s Mark bacon to millions of members.

Member’s Mark Bacon Versus Other Brands

Member’s Mark offers premium bacon quality at a great members-only price. But how does it stack up against national brands?

In a taste test, Member’s Mark bacon holds its own against higher priced competitors. It cooks up crisp and delicious. Flavor is on par with Oscar Mayer and Hormel brands.

Packaging is comparable too. Member’s Mark vacuum seals each pound and uses minimal materials. The three 1 lb. packages come boxed for easy storage.

Nutrition wise, Member’s Mark has 80 calories, 6g fat, and 270mg sodium per serving. That’s right in line with Hormel Black Label at 80 calories, 6g fat, and 250mg sodium.

Member’s Mark has no added nitrates or nitrites. It relies on sea salt, natural smoke flavor, and preservatives like sodium phosphate for curing.

Overall, Member’s Mark premium smoked bacon offers excellent value for the price. Quality compares nicely against the national brands while costing significantly less.

Member’s Mark Versus Other Store Brands

Warehouse clubs all offer their own store brands as alternatives to national labels. How does Member’s Mark bacon compare to Kirkland and Great Value?

Kirkland bacon from Costco is very similar to Member’s Mark. Both are pre-cooked, naturally smoked bacon containing no nitrates/nitrites. They have comparable fat and sodium content at similar price points.

Great Value from Walmart is a slightly different product. It’s thinner sliced, and contains sodium nitrate for curing, differing from Member’s Mark. But it still provides big value for bacon lovers on a budget.

Among the store brands, Member’s Mark and Kirkland seem to edge out Great Value in terms of quality and nutrition. But all three offer savings over the traditional bacon brands.

So if you’re comparing warehouse store bacon options, Member’s Mark and Kirkland are extremely comparable. You can choose based on which club you frequent or local pricing fluctuations.

Quick Cooking Tips for Member’s Mark Bacon

Member’s Mark bacon delivers tasty results when cooking. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Start with a cold pan. Don’t preheat. Cold allows the fat to render slowly.

  • Cook on medium or medium low heat. Avoid high heat that can burn the bacon.

  • Flip occasionally so both sides cook evenly. Look for an even golden color.

  • Remove before the bacon looks perfectly done. It will continue crisping on the plate.

  • Try baking. Lay bacon strips on a foil lined pan at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.

  • Microwave is an option but can lead to uneven cooking. Use a bacon rack for best results.

  • Drain bacon on paper towels once cooked. This absorbs excess fat for crisper texture.

Now you’re ready to sizzle up the perfect Member’s Mark bacon at home!

Enjoy Sizzling Sam’s Club Savings

Bacon brings joy to breakfasts and burgers across America. With Member’s Mark premium smoked bacon, Sam’s Club members can savor serious savings on this pork-y delight.

From the manufacturer to the merchandiser, the bacon supply chain allows each company to focus on what they do best. The result? Mouthwatering bacon at a member’s only price.

So next time you’re craving a bacon feast, head to Sam’s Club for all your bacon needs. Member’s Mark bacon will provide plenty of tasty, affordable strips for you and your family. Just don’t forget the paper towels for blotting up the grease!

Member’s Mark Vs. Kirkland Bacon: The Winner Is Clear


Where does members Mark bacon come from?

Kirkland and Member’s Mark bacon comes from pigs. Their lifestyle — diet and movement — impacts the product’s quality, and conscious consumers should take this into account when purchasing meat.

Is Member’s Mark a good brand?

They’re a Sam’s Club member favorite, too — they’re rated 4.9 stars. “Just as good or better as [the] name brand,” says one Sam’s Club reviewer.

Is members mark a Walmart brand?

Member’s Mark was founded by Sam’s Club in 1998, and in 2017, Sam’s Club consolidated its 20 proprietary brands into Member’s Mark. Member’s Mark items are available across a variety of categories, including grocery, health and wellness, baby, apparel, home and furniture products, office, technology, and more.

Who manufactures Kirkland bacon?

But, we do know that of the several regional suppliers, Smithfield is one of the largest, contributing an estimated 75 to 80% of the bacon sold under the Kirkland Signature label.

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