Costco sells coffins, fruit...and $66m of Darling Downs beef

BEEF from the Darling Downs is being sold in Costco stores across Australia and Japan, in a contract worth more than $66 million each year.

The retail giant, which sells everything from coffins to blueberries, has nine stores across the country and an expanding customer base that last year generated more than $1.5 billion in sales.

NH Foods Australia's contract with Costco means meat from the Oakey abattoir is sold to shoppers as mince and barbecue cuts. (Mince is one of Costco's most sought-after products by Queensland shoppers, following milk formula, toilet paper and fuel.)

In an interview with The Chronicle, Costco managing director Patrick Noone praised the "terrific" Darling Downs Angus and Wagyu beef that was grain-fed in most cases for 150 days.

Costco's ties to the Darling Downs have been in place for the past few years, coinciding with the US discount retailer's expansion in Australia.

Costco opened its first warehouse here in 2009. Earlier this month Mr Noone confirmed a superstore would be built at Ipswich.

NH Foods Australia export manager Andrew McDonald acknowledged the importance of the Costco contract.

"Having such a significant global retailer like Costco supporting Australian beef here and on the world stage is key to the ongoing success of the industry," Mr McDonald said, adding that "the great part is customers here are responding to the pricing and quality attributes that Costco offer and their business is growing well."

"With the price point and product quality, it's no wonder people are flocking in droves.

"I believe Costco are strong believers of our product due to the proven quality of the beef, the transparent vertical supply chain that we control, as well as the world class technology and operational excellence of the Oakey facility itself."

In 2016, Australian consumers spent $1.5 billion at Costco, up from $1.32 billion the year earlier.
 


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