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    Walmart Debuting Affordable Organics

    Wild Oats brand relaunching at mega-retailer

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information

    Walmart has revealed that it will carry organic food products under the Wild Oats brand. The well-known brand, relaunching at the mega-retailer this month, will feature a more affordable price point on items across a range of categories.

    The following Wild Oats lines will be available at Walmart: Wild Oats Marketplace Organic, adhering to USDA guidelines for organic certification and including such items as 15-ounce canned vegetables at 88 cents and a full range of spices starting at $2.48; Wild Oats Marketplace, consisting of products with simple, real ingredients, such as 5.8-ounce ready-to-prepare skillet meals at $1.50; and Wild Oats Marketplace Originals, offering new and uniquely formulated items, which will roll out later in 2014.

    ‘New Price Position’

    “We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more,” noted Jack Sinclair, EVP of grocery at Walmart U.S. “We are changing that and creating a new price position for organic groceries that increases access. This is part of our ongoing effort to use our scale to deliver quality, affordable groceries to our customers.”

    “By partnering with Walmart, Wild Oats is starting a movement that makes it easier than ever for customers to access affordable organic and natural products,” added Tom Casey, CEO of Wild Oats. “Our availability at Walmart will allow us to finally pass along scalable savings directly to consumers. We are reinvigorating our brand by bringing great tasting Wild Oats products to more customers than ever before.”

    The partnership will introduce almost 100 products, at savings of up to more than 40 percent. In addition to its collaboration with Wild Oats, Walmart is boosting its assortment in such categories as yogurt, produce, deli and bakery.

    The Wild Oats product assortment will vary by store. Walmart.com will also offer Wild Oats starting this summer.

    Walmart’s move has even won qualified praise from some of its harshest critics. The company’s “big move into organics means that more of our land will be farmed with organic methods and more Americans will have access to organic food at prices lower than they’d find at other retailers,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit health advocacy group. “Like with everything else Walmart does, there will be trade-offs here. Regardless of the company’s behavior in other spheres, it has demonstrated before that its marketplace power can help drive valuable progress on nutrition and the environment.”

    Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates 11,302 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites in 10 countries.

    Wild Oats Marketing LLC was formed by The Yucaipa Cos. in December 2011 to bring back the Wild Oats brand. Founded in Boulder, Colo., in 1987, the original Wild Oats Market was an operator of natural and organic food stores and farmers’ markets that grew to become the second-largest natural and organic food chain in the United States.

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Bridget Goldschmidt In addition to serving as Progressive Grocer’s Managing Editor, Bridget writes many print and digital features encompassing a range of grocery and fresh categories across the store. Bridget also enjoys on-site reporting assignments at such key industry events as the New York Fancy Food Show and the International Boston Seafood Show, in addition to visiting stores for PG’s prestigious Store of the Month feature. In her years with the magazine, she has developed into a knowledgeable voice on grocery industry trends, sought by such distinguished publications as The New York Times.

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