Walmart Goes Organic Via Wild Oats Line

wild-oats-organic-olive-oilWalmart announced Thursday that it will stock Wild Oats organic foods, strengthening its commitment to organic products and its reputation as a purveyor of healthy consumer packaged goods.

“We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more,” Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery at Walmart U.S., said in a release. “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.”

The news is part of a spate of large-scale retailers that have begun to engage with increasing demand for organic products. It follows Target’s announcement on Wednesday that it will beef up its organic options by partnering with 17 good-for-you brands such as Vita Coco and Evol Foods. Kroger has already been pushing innovative products with its “Taste of Tomorrow” platform, which features brands such as Just Chill and JIN+JA.

The mega-retailer’s internal data found that 91 percent of Walmart shoppers would consider purchasing products from an affordable organic brand, according to the release.

Wild Oats, founded in 1987 and reshaped into Wild Oats Marketing, LLC in December 2011 by The Yucaipa Companies, the investment firm of billionaire Ron Burkle, offers a range of USDA organic products, including ready-to-prepare meals, pasta, spices and canned tomatoes. Organic products represent nearly 90 percent of the company’s offerings, according to the release.

At Walmart, Wild Oats’ 6 oz. containers of tomato paste will sell for 58 cents. Tomato sauce and cans of vegetables in 15 oz. containers will sell for 88 cents. Ready-to-prepare meals in 5.8 oz. containers will sell for $1.50. Chicken broth in 32 oz. containers and cinnamon applesauce cups of 24 oz. will sell for $1.98. Spices such as paprika, curry powder and ground cinnamon in 2 oz. containers will sell for $2.48. The brand will also release new products catering to Walmart consumers later in the year.

“Our availability at Walmart will allow us to finally pass along scalable savings directly to consumers,” Tom Casey, CEO of Wild Oats, said in the release. “We are reinvigorating our brand by bringing great tasting Wild Oats products to more customers than ever before.”

Walmart also stated that in addition to the Wild Oats partnership, the retailer will expand its assortment in categories such as yogurt, produce, deli and bakery. While the announcement represents Walmart’s most significant action toward progressing its organic stock, this isn’t the first related news from the nation’s top mass retailer. Inko’s LLC, makers of low- and no-calorie white teas, announced in September 2013 its expansion into 2,500 Walmart stores across the U.S. In March, Cheribundi and KonaRed landed Walmart deals. At the National Beer Wholesalers Association show in Las Vegas this past fall, Walmart executive vice president Duncan Mac Naughton explained the company’s growing interest in craft beer.