Hawai‘i Safeway stores to no longer carry Paniolo Cattle Company beef brand

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Parker Ranch in Waimea on the Big Island announced that the partnership between its Paniolo Cattle Company, Hawai‘i’s largest local beef brand, and national grocery store chain Safeway will end in mid to late July. (Photo from Paniolo Cattle Company website)

Hawai‘i’s largest local beef brand will stop selling at Safeway locations statewide beginning sometime next month.

Parker Ranch in Waimea on the Big Island announced that the partnership between its Paniolo Cattle Company and the national grocery store chain will end in mid to late July.

“The partnership between Safeway and Parker Ranch’s Paniolo Cattle Company has achieved significant milestones,” said Parker Ranch President and CEO Dutch Kuyper in a news release.


However, the decision to part ways was mutual.

A spokesperson for Parker Ranch told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that it and Safeway were unable to agree on “volume and price.” It seems the partnership is ending chiefly because of an inability of the ranch to access meat processing facilities: “It was challenging to maintain price competitiveness in the retail channel due in large part to escalating processing fees.”

Those fees are charged by Hawai‘i Sustainable Beef Enterprises, which is owned by Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot, who also operates the state’s two largest meat processing plants — Hawai‘i Meats on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Beef Processors in Pa‘auilo on the Big Island. That gives VanderSloot control of about 75% of Hawai’i’s meatpacking capacity.


Kama‘aina Ranches, a beef brand also owned by VanderSloot, will replace Paniolo Cattle Company beef at Hawai‘i Safeway locations, according to the Star-Advertiser. VanderSloot told the O‘ahu newspaper that selling the Kama‘aina brand at Safeway was not part of his plans until he was approached by the grocery chain.

He added that 172 local ranchers “that had never had the chance to have their meat on the shelves at Safeway” will provide all of the beef sold under the Kama‘aina Ranches brand.

Paniolo Cattle Company, a local grass-fed beef program, launched statewide in 2013-14. It is a partnership between the Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative.


“Paniolo Cattle Company would like to express our sincere gratitude to the paniolo, the dedicated cowboys and cowgirls who meticulously raised and hand-selected only the finest cattle to provide their communities with superior beef,” Kuyper said in the news release. “Additionally, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the loyal customers who have supported this program over the years.”

This is not the end for the Paniolo Cattle Company brand. So where’s the beef from the Waimea ranch, the only one that supplies the company, going to be sold after next month?

“While this chapter may be closing, locally raised Parker Ranch beef will still be available at KTA Superstores, the four Commissary locations, Tamura’s Super Market, Waimea Butcher Shop and various other retailers throughout Hawai‘i,” Kuyper said in the release. “Paniolo Cattle Company looks forward to continuing to nourish Hawai‘i’s communities with their exceptional beef while exploring new avenues for growth and future collaboration.”

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