Wild Oats is Resurrected at Fresh & Easy

\"WildWild Oats, the once popular Colorado based natural and organics retailer was acquired by Whole Foods in early 2007 for an estimated $565 million has begun to make a comeback on the shelves of Fresh & Easy stores. The reappearance comes as the Southern California-based chain reinvents itself after being sold by its creator British retail giant Tesco to investor Ron Burkle’s company Yucaipa.

“We are piloting a handful of fresh products from our partners at Wild Oats,” company spokesman Brendan Wonnacott told the Orange County Register. “We\’re excited to be bringing back Wild Oats to make better-for-you products more available and affordable for our customers.”

Cage-free eggs and four types of organic milk carrying the “Wild Oats Marketplace” brand have begun to appear in Fresh & Easy stores

Burkle’s Yucaipa owns both Fresh & Easy and Wild Oats so the introduction of the brand is hardly a surprise, it remains to be seen whether the brand will be treated as a defacto Fresh & Easy private brand, whether it could find a home in Burkle’s other holdings (A&P) or whether it will swing for the fences and attempt to become a “national brand”. Rumors have it entering Walmart in 2014.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.