Surprise? Surprise! Walmart to Launch Wild Oats

Wild oats walmartAfter months of speculation in the retail and private brand community Walmart announced today it will carry Wild Oats organic food items. Originally introduced in 1987, Wild Oats branded products were the private brand for the Colorado based natural and organic retailer of the same name. Walmart will relaunch the brand beginning this month with a new, more affordable price point on products covering a broad variety of categories – from salsa and pasta sauce to quinoa and chicken broth. The brand adopts the traditional “compare & save” private brand strategy and will cost 25% or more less than national brand organic products. Whether you call it a national brand, private brand or exclusive brand the brand is clearly filling the same role in the  Walmart portfolio that O organics plays at Safeway or Nature’s Promise plays at Ahold. The jump into natural and organics is an interesting strategic evolution for Walmart that has the potential to significantly impact the category.

Wild Oats will feature the following lines at Walmart:

  • Wild Oats Marketplace Organic, which adheres to USDA guidelines for organic certification and includes everything from canned vegetables (15 oz) at $.88 to a full range of spices such as paprika, curry powder and ground cinnamon (2 oz) starting at $2.48. Organic items represent nearly 90 percent 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, executive vice president 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.”

The Wild Oats brand meets customer demand for more affordable organic foods. In fact, internal research found that 91 percent 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.”

Walmart and Wild Oats will introduce nearly 100 products as part of the line, removing the price premium associated with organic groceries. For example:

With more than 4,000 stores across the nation selling groceries, Walmart offers a broad assortment of fresh produce, dairy, meat and packaged foods. In addition to growing its organic product offering through Wild Oats, the retailer is expanding its assortment in categories including yogurt, produce, deli and bakery.

“At Walmart, we are focused on offering customers choice,” added Sinclair. “We know our customers count on us to provide them with affordable access to all of the groceries they are looking for.  Organics are no exception.”

Wild Oats product assortment will vary by store.  Walmart.com will also offer Wild Oats later this summer.

 



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Christopher Durham

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.