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Wal-Mart to Make Big Push Into Organic Food Products

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Wal-Mart to Make Big Push Into Organic Food Products

Old 03-26-06, 08:19 PM
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Wal-Mart to Make Big Push Into Organic Food Products

This is the free market at work.

What do you anti-Wal Mart people think of this?

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...lines-business

Wal-Mart to Make Big Push Into Organic Food Products

The move could help the retailer lure more affluent customers from rivals such as Target.

From the Associated Press

March, 25 2006

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is throwing its weight behind organic products, a move that experts say could have the same lasting effect on environmental practices that Wal-Mart has had on prices by forcing suppliers and competitors to keep up.

Putting new items on the shelf this year, from organic cotton baby clothes to ocean fish caught in ways that don't harm the environment, is part of a broader green policy launched last year to meet consumer demand, cut costs for things like energy and packaging and burnish a battered reputation.

Organic products are one lure for the more affluent shoppers Wal-Mart is trying to woo away from rivals such as Target Corp., said Alice Peterson, president of Chicago-based consultancy Syrus Global.

A Supercenter that opened this week in the Dallas suburb of Plano features more than 400 organic foods as part of an experiment to see what kinds of products and interior decor can grab the interest of upscale shoppers.

"Like many big companies, they have figured out it is just good marketing and good reputation building to be in favor of things that Americans are increasingly interested in," Peterson said.

Wal-Mart's Lee Scott is not the first chief executive to advocate sustainability, a term for the corporate ethos of doing business in a way that benefits the environment. Industrial giant General Electric Co., for example, last year launched a program called "Ecomagination" to bring green technologies like wind power to market.

What makes Wal-Mart's efforts unique, sustainability experts say, is the retailer's sheer size and the power that gives it in relations with suppliers. Wal-Mart works closely with suppliers to shape their goods, if they want them on the shelves of Wal-Mart's nearly 4,000 U.S. stores and more than 2,200 internationally.

"They have huge potential because it's not just Wal-Mart we're talking about, it's their entire supply chain," said Jeff Erikson, U.S. director of London-based consultancy and research group SustainAbility.

He said Wal-Mart could bring the same pressure it has exerted over the years on prices and apply that to pushing manufacturers and competitors to adopt more sustainable business practices and larger organic offerings.

"We love to see companies like Wal-Mart taking a big step and making pronouncements as they have, because their tentacles are so large," Erikson said.

Wal-Mart plans to double its organic grocery offerings in the next month and continue looking for more products to offer in areas such as grocery, apparel, paper and electronics.

Stephen Quinn, vice president of marketing, told an analysts' conference this month that Wal-Mart would have 400 organic food items in stores by this summer "at the Wal-Mart price."

Some Wal-Mart critics call the effort just a public relations job. But others say Wal-Mart could make a real difference if the retailer brings a critical mass of organic products to market and pushes enough suppliers to adopt green practices.

Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, a board member of the union-backed group Wal-Mart Watch that criticizes the retailer, said that it was too soon to tell if Wal-Mart would deliver but that the impact could be good for the environment. "I think the direction they've said is a positive direction. The question is, 'Are they are going to go there strongly enough?' " he said.

Some of the new items will be seafood caught in the wild. Wal-Mart last month announced a plan to have all its wild-caught fish, which accounts for about a third of seafood sales, certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as caught in a sustainable way.

MSC, founded in 1997 as a venture of the conservation group World Wildlife Fund and global consumer products company Unilever, issues the certificates to let shoppers know which fisheries avoid overfishing and use methods that don't damage the ocean environment.

Sustainability experts say what makes this program interesting is that Wal-Mart will work with its suppliers to get more fisheries around the globe certified by London-based MSC, instead of just buying up the existing stock of certified fish.
Old 03-26-06, 08:57 PM
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This is the free market at work.

What do you anti-Wal Mart people think of this?


Is being organic like being born again?
Old 03-26-06, 09:16 PM
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Hey, will have to go check out the new store in Plano...

Wonder how places like Whole Foods think of it???

Should be interesting to see. People always complain that Wal-Mart should do more and here they have. Now, will people actually buy or do people just like to complain? Will be interesting if people buy this stuff or if it is really like folks who complain about the high price of gas as they drive around in a Suburban.
Old 03-26-06, 10:39 PM
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I don't know why, but when I think of Walmart organically growing crops, I think of how those poor third-world child laborers will now get to enjoy at least a little bit of greenery when it's their turn to go outside and fertilize the organic vegetable field behind the sweatshop. Heaven help them if they can't make their quota though...
Old 03-26-06, 10:40 PM
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Fuck Walmart. What does this have to do with Politics?

I had the misfortune of being stuck in the quagmire of a Walmart parking lot yesterday. I'm still bitter.
Old 03-26-06, 11:15 PM
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The move could help the retailer lure more affluent customers from rivals such as Target.
Maybe they should start being making their stores into something that doesn't resemble a mental ward shithole.
Old 03-26-06, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
Is being organic like being born again?
Yeah, but they aren't as bad as the vegans, always pushing their views down your throat.
Old 03-27-06, 07:41 AM
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This is, indeed, the free market at work. I rarely venture into Wal-mart, except to remind myself of why I moved out of Appalachia, but they are the only place I can find Hormel vegetarian chili.
Old 03-27-06, 08:37 AM
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I'm still not sure if I buy 100% into this "organic craze". I mean I can understand many of the benefits but sometimes the supporters just seem like they're full of shit. One of my favorite cooking shows is "Chefs a Field" and the show is built around organic chefs and the organic suppliers that they use and sometimes the Chefs and Farmers sound like Religious Zealots when it comes to anything Organic. It's like NOTHING ELSE should be consumed or you'll die right there at your plate.

Last edited by Giantrobo; 03-27-06 at 08:41 AM.
Old 03-27-06, 09:18 AM
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Unless someone can find/justify a way to move this back it doesn't really seem to be political in nature.
Old 03-27-06, 09:32 AM
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I've noticed more organic stuff in my local store (the few times I've ventured in), but I just assumed it was more of a direct assault on some local grocery stores that have entire organic departments.
Old 03-27-06, 09:33 AM
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I first read about this last year and they are already selling organic products in some Supercenters. Last year I bought some juice in a Super wal mart in Ohio for 30% off the Whole Foods price.

they also had the store on CNBC last week. It looks very nice. The bathrooms look clean and it's supposed to use 20% less energy than a regular store. They are using this store to test all kinds of "green" technologies.

As for me, I think it dumbs down what organic was supposed to be. The whole thing was started a few decades ago as a way for people to eat products without chemicals that are used to make chemical weapons or without assembly line agriculture and now it's more of a marketing gimmick. Right now most organic food companies are owned by the big food companies and the organic label is just a way to charge more for a product. I still buy some organic products like eggs at Costco and some things at Whole Foods but I'm pretty picky and don't just buy something just because it says organic.
Old 03-27-06, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by grundle
The move could help the retailer lure more affluent customers from rivals such as Target.
Yes, because I've been buying my organic brocolli at Target for years.
Old 03-27-06, 10:15 AM
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I don't like Target, although I have been known to shop there if I couldn't find what I was looking for at Walmart.

I'm basically a cheap shopper. I do almost all my grocery shopping at Aldi or Save-a-Lot; and I shop at Walmart for nongrocery household supplies because it's the cheapest. Most of my casual clothes come from Walmart too. There are a few things I only buy at Family Dollar or Dollar General, but only because they're not available at Walmart.

I don't buy organic groceries, so this won't really affect me. I think it's great that they're going to get into the market. Maybe people who have not gone organic before for financial reasons will be able to now.
Old 03-27-06, 10:32 AM
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Stocking "organic" sounds nice, but until the US adopts a federal standard of what classifies as organic, people who buy are about as silly as those who purchase those supplements that haven't even been evaluated by the FDA. No one knows anything about what the manufacturer considers "organic" and it can vary greatly from one to another. Why pay an inflated price when there is no information available? If I buy organic, it has to be European because they do have national standards and are regulated.

If Wal-Mart wants to really be a champion in the "green" movement, they need to push for federal standards and then show that their stores stock products that meet or exceed those standards.
Old 03-27-06, 10:49 AM
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they passed a law a few years back regulating this, and at Whole Foods the organic foods are regulated by some organizations. The big food companies wanted to loosen the standards and whole foods fought it.

Personally I like Whole Foods since all the food they have is the best quality you can get. I have looked around NYC for years and can't find any place that compares to quality like stuff I find in Whole Foods. I don't buy anything there, but if I want something that is the of the highest quality I just go there.
Old 03-27-06, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by shifrbv
Stocking "organic" sounds nice, but until the US adopts a federal standard of what classifies as organic, people who buy are about as silly as those who purchase those supplements that haven't even been evaluated by the FDA. No one knows anything about what the manufacturer considers "organic" and it can vary greatly from one to another. Why pay an inflated price when there is no information available? If I buy organic, it has to be European because they do have national standards and are regulated.

If Wal-Mart wants to really be a champion in the "green" movement, they need to push for federal standards and then show that their stores stock products that meet or exceed those standards.
You mean like they pushed to raise minimum wage? They tried, it failed.
Old 03-27-06, 12:40 PM
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I'm not willing to pay more for "organic", so maybe now that WalMart will stock it, that'll help

I'm with Vibiana - Aldi & Sav-A-Lot

<------ wants to retire early even if that means the processed food I buy kills me sooner
Old 03-27-06, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct
Should be interesting to see. People always complain that Wal-Mart should do more and here they have. Now, will people actually buy or do people just like to complain?
That's was I was wondering too.

I guess only time will tell.
Old 03-27-06, 01:38 PM
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Target has affluent shoppers?
Old 03-27-06, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Nutter
I don't know why, but when I think of Walmart organically growing crops, I think of how those poor third-world child laborers will now get to enjoy at least a little bit of greenery when it's their turn to go outside and fertilize the organic vegetable field behind the sweatshop. Heaven help them if they can't make their quota though...
Ha ha ha!
Old 03-27-06, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
What does this have to do with Politics?
Apparently nothing.

The moderators moved my thread.
Old 03-27-06, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by nemein
Unless someone can find/justify a way to move this back it doesn't really seem to be political in nature.
It doesn't matter. The political forum still has a link to this thread.
Old 03-27-06, 02:06 PM
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I wouldn't think this is political in nature either.

My wife and I have been enjoying the "organic" foods that Frito-Lay have been putting out. The nutritional label confirms that they're marginally healthier, and there's also a comforting feeling about turning over the Tostitos bag and seeing the three actual ingredients that are needed to produce them, and nothing else. The expiration date is still way out, was about 5 months I think, so other than being a little more expensive, looks like a win-win to me.

http://www.fritolay.com/fl/flstore/c...ts_natural.htm
Old 03-27-06, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
Last year I bought some juice in a Super wal mart in Ohio for 30% off the Whole Foods price.
This presents a very interesting predicament for the people who claim they hate Wal Mart.

Will they continue to boycott Wal Mart?

Or, would they rather save 30%?

I guess only time will tell.

It would be funny if Wal Mart's parking lots ended up full of vehicles whose owners forgot about their "Boycott Wal Mart" bumper stickers.

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