The Organic food industry keeps growing and growing, and what once was a small grass roots movement may soon be dominated by the ultimate in corporate dominators: Walmart. Under its brand, Wild Oats, the food conglomerate plans to decrease the price of organics by 25% in its stores. Walmart is a big enough buyer that this move could have a significant effect on the market price of organics via supply and demand mechanisms. On the one hand, this could be a win: more farms going into organic production means wider spread benefits of organic farming for people and for the planet. On the other hand, the world’s largest retailer playing a significant role in shaping organic production.
Instead of hitting the entire national market at once, Walmart will first introduce Wild Oats at 2,000 stores in the coming months, only half of its national footprint, and then roll it out to the rest of the country. Mr. Sinclair said that concerns about supply kept the retailer from introducing the brand in all its stores at once."
This could have negative effects on organic standards. One thing is certain, we’ll be following this one closely.
- Walmart to Sell Organic Food, Undercutting Big Brands via NY Times
- Wal-Mart Attempts the Holy Grail: Low-Cost Organic Food via Business Week