Organic food first appeared on our radar back in October of 2006. Since then, more than 50 stories have come under the organics category. Walmart has always seemed like an unlikely place to buy organic food (akin to buying solar panels from the Peabody Coal company) but I do believe the company is trying. I've read in recent days, however, how the company is dumping the Wild Oats brand in favor of promoting the in-store Great Values line and fresh produce. John Kell, reporting in Walmart's Organic Food Push Faces a Setback for Fortune writes:
Walmart is reportedly phasing out the Wild Oats organic food brand from the retailer’s store shelves, a move that comes just two years after it first made a big bet on the brand. The Wall Street Journal has reported the Wild Oats products will be phased out in the coming months, citing sources familiar with the matter, and instead focus on bringing in organic food items by focusing on the store brand Great Value and fresh produce. This pivot is important for a few reasons. Walmart is the nation’s largest grocery chain, but a move away from Wild Oats after just a few years of backing this initiative indicates it hasn’t yet figured out how best to sell organic products to consumers that are spending lot more on the category. Globally, organic food sales are expected to post double-digit gains over the next several years.
The next line sums up the problem: But retailers haven’t yet figured out the perfect formula. Walmart still is clearly tinkering with the formula. OK, I can't argue with tinkering. Tinkering is good. That Walmart somehow believes that people who buy organic foods for healthy or environmental reasons, and who are happy to pay a price premium to ensure that they are not just buying pseudo-organics, will take to buying Walmart's in-house food line to me seems beyond delusional. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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