Walmart, the world's largest retailer and largest seller of food in the U.S., is entering and trying to shake up the $29 billion organic foods market. The Wild Oats items will appear in around 2000 stores, half of its national footprint, as early as this month and will be available in the more than 4,000 Wal-Mart stores across the country that sell groceries.
"We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more … We are changing that" said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of the grocery division at Wal-Mart U.S.
According to a Walmart internal survey, 91 percent of their customers would prefer to buy organic products if their prices were lower than they are currently. The same research also found that nine in ten people felt that organic foods were better than conventional foods.
The Wild Oats brand is familiar to many customers who buy organic foods. The chain of stores was acquired by Walmart in 2007 and is now relaunching a line of organic foods that will include tomato sauce, chicken broth and spices, with Wal-Mart as its only national retailer.
Over 90 percent of Wild Oats offerings at Walmart will be organic and the rest will adhere to company standards about additives and ingredients, but not conform to U.S. Food and Drug Authority requirements.
Wanting to get a bigger piece of the organic foods market, Target announced Wednesday that it was banding together natural and organic food growers like Annie's Homegrown, Horizon Organic and Plum Organics to help make it easier for customers to buy such products. Target said its sales of natural and organic products grew 15 percent last year.
[The New York Times]