The nation’s largest retailer and grocer enters the organic food rush.
For consumers put off by the higher costs of organic food, change has finally come.
Walmart has announced a deal to put its size and power behind Wild Oats organic products, offering the brand at affordable prices, likely sending shockwaves through the organic marketplace as more food producers and retailers seek to gain a foothold in the market.
Through the partnership, Wild Oats products will be priced at same level as conventional grocery items and at least 25 percent lower than brand-name organic foods—based on price comparisons with 26 national labels.
The line of organic products will be available starting this month in about 2,000 Walmart stores (and on the retailer’s Web site) before being rolled out to its more than 4,000 locations across the U.S.
“We’re removing the premium associated with organic groceries,” Walmart executive vice president of grocery Jack Sinclair told reporters, noting that internal research conducted by the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer showed 91 percent of its shoppers would considering purchasing organic products at Walmart, if they were reasonably priced.
Wild Oats once operated its own chain of grocery stores before being acquired by Whole Foods in 2007. In 2009, after a lengthy legal battle, federal antitrust regulators forced Whole Foods to divest its holdings, resulting in the closure of Wild Oats’ stores.