Wal-Mart is using its massive size to drive down the price of organic food items from tomato paste to chicken broth to make them more affordable for its low-income customers.
The world’s largest retailer and nation’s largest grocery seller said Thursday that it has teamed up with Wild Oats to sell a new line of organic foods, starting this month, that’s at least 25 percent cheaper than the national organic brands it carries and in line with the prices of its branded non-organic alternatives. Wild Oats helped pioneer the organic food trend in the late 1980s but has largely disappeared from store shelves since 2007.
Wild Oats’ 6-ounce can of tomato paste, for example, is priced at 58 cents, compared with 98 cents for a national-brand organic version. And a 32-ounce can of chicken broth under Wild Oats is priced at $1.98, compared with the $3.47 for a national-brand alternative, according to the discounter’s survey of 26 nationally branded organic products available at Walmart.com.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is unveiling nearly 100 pantry items under the Wild Oats label over the next several months, adding to the 1,600 organic food items it already carries. It’s taking a cautious approach, planning to have them in about half of its 4,000 domestic namesake stores to make sure it can satisfy demand. The Bentonville, Ark., company will be the exclusive national retailer of Wild Oats.
“We are removing the premium associated with organic groceries,” Jack Sinclair, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of grocery, told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.read more
With help from the Wal-Mart Foundation, the California Association of Food Banks plans to expand its produce recovery program — Farm to Family — by 15 million pounds of fresh produce and help other states set up similar programs.
The foundation gave the Oakland-based California Association of Food Banks $500,000 to grow the program. The association already partners with 114 growers and packers to provide 140 million pounds of fresh produce annually to 40 California food banks, according to a news release.
The donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation will also help with two research projects, Sue Sigler, association executive director, said in the release.
“CAFB will commission and publish a study identifying the environmental benefits of the Farm to Family model,” Sigler said in the release. “This research will contribute new knowledge on the sustainability benefits of produce recovery efforts.”
Sigler cited USDA statistics in the release that show 6 billion pounds of agricultural crops are being wasted annually in the U.S. The discarded and unharvested food includes about 3 billion pounds of fresh produce in California annually, according to the release, helping to make food waste the No. 1 material going into U.S. landfills.
The other research project planned is a pilot program to quantify the impact of increasing cold storage capacity at food pantries in terms of the pantries’ ability to distribute more fresh produce.
Outreach efforts to growers and packers will also benefit from the Wal-Mart Foundation donation. Sigler said in the release that California’s 36,000 growers represent an untapped market.
The 140 million pounds of produce annually recovered and distributed by the Field to Family program represents only 5% of the total agricultural food waste in California, according to the release.
The food bank association also plans a conference to help organizations in other states set up produce recovery programs.
“CAFB has been on the cutting edge of produce recovery efforts for the past decade. We look forward to seeing them expand Farm to Family in California, and beyond,” Wal-Mart Foundation senior manager Robert Kenny said in the release.
Seniors living in the backcountry of East County are about to be better served by Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego Inc.
Meals-on-Wheels, the service that supports the independence and well being of senior citizens, recently received a $70,000 contribution grant from the Walmart Foundation.
The funds will be used to help meet its goal of doubling daily meal service to homebound seniors living in San Diego’s rural areas, according to Debbie Case, president/CEO of Meals-on-Wheels in San Diego County.
There are more than 30,000 seniors living in rural the back country of San Diego County, areas where there is limited access — or no access — to a senior nutrition program, Case said.
Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego provides two nutritious meals every day to more than 2,700 seniors living in 48 communities throughout San Diego County, Case said. Most of the program’s recipients live alone, and nearly 85 percent are considered low income.
Walmart Neighborhood Market provides access to fresh and affordable groceries and employment opportunities to the community
- New Walmart Neighborhood Market located at 300 N. 2nd St.
- About 65 jobs at the new store
- Store open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
EL CAJON, CA, March 7, 2014 – Walmart will open a new Walmart Neighborhood Market Friday, March 14, after a brief ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. The new store, approximately one-quarter the size of a Walmart Supercenter, is located at 300 N. 2nd St. in the Town and Country shopping center and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new store will provide local customers with a new, convenient option for their grocery shopping needs, including fresh produce and pharmacy services.
“I am pleased that Walmart is opening another Neighborhood Market in East San Diego County,” said California State Assemblyman Brian Jones. “Walmart has contributed tremendously to our community through its initiative to hire more veterans and by creating more jobs that help stimulate our local economy. Welcome to the neighborhood!”
Smaller Store, More Convenience
The Walmart Neighborhood Market format offers quick and convenient shopping, with a full-service grocery department, including organic and natural selections. The store features prepared food options, fresh baked breads, a self-serve deli and a bakery. The El Cajon store is also tailored to the community, offering local favorites.
“Walmart is a tremendous asset to El Cajon and to the entire region,” said El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells. “This new store is a boon for our City, not just for customers looking for low prices on groceries, but because of the hundreds of jobs and economic opportunities Walmart provides to our community.”
The pharmacy offers a full range of products and services. Pharmacy team members can answer product and prescription questions and customers can ask about health and wellness solutions. The stores will also offer Walmart’s $4 Prescription Program, through which customers can choose from hundreds of generic drugs and over-the-counter medications for $4 for a 30-day supply or $10 for a 90-day supply. Started in 2006, the program has saved U.S. customers more than $4.8 billion on medications.
The grand opening celebration includes presentations of grants from Walmart to local community groups, as well as a $70,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Council to Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Inc. to expand its home-delivered meal program in rural areas of San Diego, including East County and North County. Other recipients include the following organizations:
- I Love a Clean San Diego
- Challenge Ranch
- Grant Hills High School
- The Seth Foundation
In addition to the grants given as part of the grand opening, the new store will further Walmart’s pledge to fight hunger in America. As part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment to fight hunger through 2015, Walmart stores in California donated approximately 10.2 million pounds of food, in fiscal year 2013, or the equivalent of 8.5 million meals. Additionally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $26.3 million in fiscal year 2013 in California alone. For more information on Walmart’s fight against hunger, visit http://foundation.walmart.com/our-focus/hunger.
“Walmart has proven to be a great partner to the East County community, providing hundreds of jobs for local residents and supporting our local charities,” said Eric Lund, General Manager at the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to the opening of this new store and the way it will help strengthen our local economy in El Cajon and throughout the region.”
New Store, New Jobs
The new store employs about 65 full- and part-time associates. The first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998, and today there are approximately 300 Walmart Neighborhood Market stores nationwide.
“I am excited to open this Walmart Neighborhood Market and look forward to serving my community,” said Store manager John Defiori. “I invite the community to come celebrate our grand opening with us on March 14.” Defiori began his career with Walmart in 1996, assisting with the opening of the store on Camino Canada in El Cajon, and brings nearly 18 years of experience in working with the company and in this community.
Walmart provides competitive wages and benefits to associates, as well as opportunities for advancement. The average wage for full-time hourly associates in California is $13.08, and about 160,000 associates receive promotions each year. The company offers a variety of affordable health and well-being benefits, including health care coverage with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers eligible associates matching 401(k) contributions of up to 6 percent, discounts on general merchandise, an Associate Stock Purchase Program and company-paid life insurance. Additionally, eligible associates receive a quarterly incentive based on store performance.
A Big Family Welcome
Walmart is happy to be part of the El Cajon community and is ready to celebrate with residents on Saturday, March 15. A Big Family Welcome will give customers a chance to meet the manager and enjoy fun family activities, such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples while supplies last. Join the celebration from noon to 3 p.m.
Join the Conversation
Walmart invites El Cajon shoppers to share their in-store experience on Facebook and Twitter by using #MyNewWalmart. Visit the My Local Walmart Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/walmart4169. Fans of the local page can receive information about rollbacks, in-store events, meal solutions and more.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been bullish about Made in America, but now it’s apparent just how bullish.
The world’s largest retailer in January 2013 committed to sourcing $50 billion worth of goods in the U.S. in the 10th year of a decade-long initiative. On Thursday, Wal-Mart revealed that the cumulative spending over the decade will total $250 billion. Bill Simon, chief executive officer of Wal-Mart U.S., floated the figure at the retailer’s year-beginning meeting in Orlando.
“We’ve pledged to spend $250 billion on U.S. products over the next 10 years,” he said.
In an interview with WWD, Michelle Gloeckler, senior vice president of home and the executive leading the U.S. manufacturing initiative, said, “It’s real, it’s math, it’s economic. A lot of people doubted us in the beginning. This is important to our business and our customers. There’s real value there when you make products closer to consumption. We learned a lot through the first year. The $250 billion figure is the cumulative effect of year-over-year. We are on track to meet that goal with our year one results.”
Wal-Mart is providing $1.75 million in grants from its self-named foundation to three of the nation’s biggest civil rights organizations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Urban League and United Negro College Fund.
According to a press release, a $500,000 grant will go to the United Negro College Fund to help 16 HBCUs gain financial stability to ensure the continued provision of higher education to black students. Grants of $1 million and $250,000 to the National Urban League and the NAACP respectively will go towards helping individuals secure and build successful careers through training and placement assistance and help businesses create more job opportunities.
Walmart is ahead of its self-imposed pace to convert to renewable energy and cut energy use, the company said as it held its annual Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting on Feb. 17.
The company set its energy efficiency goal to cut consumption by 20 percent by 2020. Through the third quarter of last year, the company reached 7.4 percent, more than double the 3 percent needed to be on track. That translates to annual savings of $250 million.
As one of the largest purchasers of American agricultural products, Walmart is proud to announce plans to open a new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Mountain Shadows Shopping Plaza in Rohnert Park at the corner of Golf Course Drive and Country Club Drive. The new Neighborhood Market is anticipated to open this fall and will provide local residents with access to affordable products and convenient shopping in a smaller store layout.
The Neighborhood Market will offer a full grocery department including organic and natural selections. The store will feature prepared food options, fresh-baked bread, self-serve deli and bakery products, health and beauty aids, pet supplies and household goods.
The Angels Depot, a charity which provides meals for at risk seniors in North County, received a $100,000 grant from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation during a brief ceremony at the charity’s headquarters on Friday.
Debbie Sanchez, Walmart store manager presented a $100,000 check to the Angel Depot charity.
The Angels Depot delivers about 900 food packages, on the third week of the month, to “at risk” and impoverished seniors in North County. The 24 pound boxes contain 21 meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for seniors at risk of malnutrition.
Founder and Executive Director Susan Hall of Angels Depot said the seniors live on an average fixed income of $765.00 a month. The meal boxes are high in protein, fiber and moderate on sugar content and designed to help seniors who live with “food insecurity” survive between social security checks. Hall said the Depot has delivered over a million pounds of food since the founding of the charity in 2006.
More low-income seniors will have access to free meals thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation to the Angel’s Depot senior food program, officials said Friday.
“It’s a godsend,” said Susan Hall, executive director of the Angel’s Depot. “There are over 130 people on my waiting list and some have been on the waiting list for a very long time.”
Since 2006, the Angel’s Depot has been distributing boxes of food to seniors in need. Inside the boxes are 21 meals, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The packages are delivered on the third week of the month and are designed make sure seniors have enough food to eat until their next Social Security check arrives, Hall said.