Walmart, the nation's largest seller of groceries, said Thursday it would begin carrying Wild Oats organic food items as a discount alternative to other organic brands.
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Wild Oats was founded in 1987 by the natural and organic chain of the same name. The chain was acquired by Whole Foods Market in 2008, and the Wild Oats brand name was later acquired by Yucaipa Cos. in partnership with Jim Keyes, the president and CEO of Fresh & Easy, El Segundo, Calif.
Fresh & Easy in February had rolled the Wild Oats line of products out at its 167 stores, located in California, Nevada and Arizona. Fresh & Easy was acquired last year by Yucaipa.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said it would introduce “nearly 100” products under the Wild Oats brand in three lines:
• Wild Oats Marketplace Organic, which adheres to USDA guidelines for organic certification and includes everything from canned vegetables (15 oz., 88 cents) to a range of spices such as paprika, curry powder and ground cinnamon. Organic items represent nearly 90% of the Wild Oats offering.
• Wild Oats Marketplace, which includes products with simple and real ingredients such as ready-to-prepare skillet meals (5.8 oz. at $1.50).
• Wild Oats Marketplace Originals, offering new and uniquely formulated items, will be available later this year.
“We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more,” said 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.”
Walmart said its internal research found that 91% of Walmart shoppers would consider purchasing products from an affordable organic brand at the retailer.
“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,” said 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.”
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