Wal-Mart to Rollout Organic Food at 'Non-organic Prices'

Wal-Mart to Rollout Organic Food at 'Non-organic Prices'

The retail giant Wal-Mart announced a plan to offer packaged organic foods at prices comparable to their non-organic equivalents. The announcement is seen as an attempt by the company to expand its price-undercutting strategies into the organic market.

"There will be no premium for the customer to purchase organic products," said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Wal-Mart U.S. "They will be able to purchase organic at non-organic prices."

Wal-Mart has partnered with Wild Oats, which formerly operated a chain of health-oriented grocery stores until it was bought out by rival Whole Foods in 2007. Whole Foods sold its rights to the Wild Oats name in 2010, and now Wild Oats has reorganized as a producer of organic packaged goods such as spices, sauces and broths.

Wal-Mart will be the only national retail chain offering Wild Oats products, priced at about 25 percent lower than other organic brands. For example, 32 ounces of Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Chicken Broth is priced at $1.98 on Walmart.com, in comparison with an organic chicken broth from Swanson at $2.88. Wild Oats Marketplace Organic Tomato Sauce costs 88 cents for 15 ounces (5.9 cents per ounce), in comparison with $2.48 for 24 ounces from Bertolli (10.3 cents per ounce).

The Wal-Mart-Wild Oats partnership does not include fresh products, such as produce or dairy. The organic foods market is booming nationwide, rising 10.8 percent in 2012 to $26.3 billion, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. The market appears to have grown a further 11 percent in 2013, and is expected to sustain a 10 to 12 percent annual growth through 2020, reaching $60 billion. This growth far surpasses that of the non-organic food market.

 

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