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Walmart rolls out discount organic groceries brand
April 10th, 2014
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart says it is re-launching the Wild Oats brand as a discount alternative to national brand organic groceries.
The retailer says that Wild Oats-branded organic groceries, including salsa, pasta, coffee and condiments, will be priced at least 25% lower than other national brands it sells.
"We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products, and traditionally those customers have had to pay more," says Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Walmart U.S. "We are changing that and creating a new price position for organic groceries that increases access."
The company says its research found that 91% of customers would buy ''affordable'' organic products if they were available.
Walmart says it will be the only national retailer to carry Wild Oats products and that in the future it may consider adding fresh organics such as milk, eggs and salads.
Walmart will roll out 100 Wild Oats packaged-food products to 2,000 of its stores, about half of its national footprint, in the coming months. The retailer already offers more than 1,600 organic products, though it is not removing the organic price premium on those items.
Walmart says it will hold down prices on Wild Oats offerings by eliminating middlemen and making long-term agreements with farmers.
As demand for organics rises, increased production and distribution could also serve to suppress prices.
Wild Oats is owned by Los Angeles-based Yucaipa Cos., operator of 167 Fresh & Easy grocery stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.
Wild Oats had been the in-house organic brand of Whole Foods Market Inc. after being acquired by the nation’s largest natural food retailer. But Whole Foods was ordered by the Federal Trade Commission in 2009 to divest 32 stores and the Wild Oats brand to satisfy complaints that the acquisition of Wild Oats by its biggest competitor violated antitrust laws.