Walmart and Whole Foods go head-to-head in organic battle
Developing a hate-on for corporations and big-box retailers is a pastime of many, but it may be time for a paradigm shift. The Atlantic’s Corby Kummer was recently taken aback by the quantity of fresh, locally sourced produce available at—cue cringes—a Walmart super-centre, which stocked many of the products sold at Whole Foods.
Kummer was so intrigued by Walmart’s selection (free-range organic eggs, all-natural, hormone-free milk and organic meat) that he decided a blind taste test was in order: Walmart vs. Whole Foods. In purchasing ingredients for the showdown, which was refereed by a panel of critics, bloggers and food lovers, Kummer spent significantly less at Walmart than he did at Whole Foods for nearly identical ingredients.
The verdict? Walmart held its own in a big way. Much to their chagrin, the panel members often preferred Walmart’s products over Whole Foods’, including almonds and fresh greens. Kummer found that the corporate giant has (in the name of profit, of course) made inroads into the organic and locavore movement, participating in a number of little-known programs that aim to rebuild local farming communities. An interesting notion, coming from a retailer with a reputation for undermining local economies.
Both Whole Foods and Walmart are set to increase their Canadian presence. Two new Whole Foods are scheduled to arrive in Toronto, and Walmart has ambitions to become “the fastest-growing retailer in Canada.” With some of Kummer’s revelations in mind, it may be time to stop hating Walmart simply for the sake of it.
• The great grocery smackdown [Atlantic]
• Wal-mart to expand, other retailers wary [Toronto Star]
• Two more Whole Foods outlets are coming to Toronto [Toronto Life]
8 thoughts on “Walmart and Whole Foods go head-to-head in organic battle”
Last time I checked, we weren’t hating on Walmart for the sake of it, or the quality of their products for that matter. Typically we’re in a twist over their lack of business ethics, the impact on local retailers, their unscrupulous methods to get such a low price (hint: it’s not just because they buy a lot), their puzzling-at-best HR policies, their union-busting tendencies, etc etc etc – need I go on?
While i agree with your comments about Walmart, the exact same could be said for Whole Foods. Every bit as anti-union, unscrupulous, and unethical as Walmart. Don’t believe the marketing, it is just that: marketing.
i agree with m–even the smaller chains like whole foods (tho not exactly small when you consider the number of locations in the US, but still small in comparison to walmart) operate in the same way where the bottom line is all about selling for top profit margins. ultimately the goal of whole foods and every other retailer is the same and once they expand and grow, they are all just as bad as the big guys.
Everyone that has posted so far seems to not understand business. E-v-e-r-y business operates based on the bottom line.
Wal-Mart bashing is based solely on what you do not understand, and what you are not involved in. They are a strategic, large company, that has helped and built many countries exporting business. When any company goes out of business based on the fact that there is another company that can do it better, then welcome to the business world. Wal-Mart has strict guide-lines that their suppliers must abide by and they get the best price because they insist on it, they have the buying power, and they are good at what they do.
Their customer obviously appreciates it based on the sheer amount of goods they move in a single day.
At the same time – Walmart is getting in a lot of trouble for quite a bit of misleading information on their organic foods with some of them being not organic at all or at least highly questionable. There’s a lot of concern that Walmart will lower the standard of quality where organics are concerned.
Stick to your local farmer’s market.
Sure it’s fresh & local now… they are entering the market and want to create a splash.
Being profit-driven, they will simply revert to cheaper food when the competition is stymied. Isn’t that obvious, from ALL their actions of the past few decades? Can’t we learn from experience?
This article aside, most other media is focusing on how fresh the Walmart produce LOOKS. The photos look great… COLOURS! SHINYNESS! BIG FRUIT! Those are all traits of ‘manufactured’ produce. Real fresh & healthy organic food is actually not that photogenic.
Wallmart wins in a big way?
READ THE DATES please.
-MANY of the products sold at Whole Foods can also be found at Trader Joe’s or even Ocean State – the DIFFERENCE is that at Whole Foods they are FRESH and all these other stores don’t give a flying fig what you eat and how long it’s dated. Don’t write blind articles, write well researched articles, please. If you’re going to influence the public do it right. Whole Foods didn’t even sell duck until it found a farm that humanely raises duck. There will be a day when majority of people will be vegan and eating organic and Whole Foods was a major player in making that happen. Step one – buy better, fresher foods, step two, care about WHAT you put into your body since you are what you eat. Everyone should read Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bastard and a book called Eating Animals. One more thing: Stop and Shop also carries Whole Foods items, but the price is doubled on almost every item there, making people think that an organic diet is impossible to afford or support.
It’s all about pushing corn syrup, and bi products. Frozen meat products are taken back to the same farms after they go past the purchase date and they’re fed to the animals who will eventually end up in new frozen meat products. Nice huh? Shop Whole Foods and ignore articles like these.
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