Health & Wellness

Making Organic Foods a Reality For All

We spend a lot of time talking to our customers. They tell us that one of the challenges they face is feeding their families on a budget. And when it comes to purchasing organic options, cost is often one of the biggest barriers. At the same time, there’s a shift happening at the dinner table. Interest in food that is organic is growing.

At Walmart, our perspective on this consumer demand is simple: we don’t think that people who want to eat organic should have to pay more for their food. That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of Wild Oats, a line of organic foods to be sold at Walmart stores, without the price premium typically associated with these products.

Beginning this month, we’re rolling out approximately 100 different items – foods like organic pasta sauce, spices, chicken broth, canned beans, salsa and other grocery products.  With the introduction of Wild Oats, we estimate customers who purchase organic items at Walmart can save nearly 25% or more on their grocery bill when compared to other organic products on our shelves.*

While you may not think of Walmart as a destination for organic groceries, we are.  We offer more than 1,600 organic grocery items including produce, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and national branded packaged goods. Organic food is also becoming more popular among our customers. Internal research found that 91% of our shoppers would purchase affordable organic products in our stores.

This is why we're using our scale to deliver quality, organic groceries to our customers for less. When we do this, it’s a win, win, win -- for our customers, our suppliers and our company. Our customers can trust that they will save money at Walmart, our suppliers can count on us for the demand and we are able to offer innovative new products. 

This isn’t about telling our customers what to eat, nor is it an endorsement of certain foods. It’s about leveraging our scale to provide access to the choices that currently elude too many families in our country. It’s just one more way we’re helping our customers save money so they can live better. 

Editor’s Note:  Savings claim is based on item price comparisons (per ounce) of 26 nationally branded organic products available at Walmart stores. Research was conducted in April 2014. 

5 Comments

Business

With 25 Years in the Can, We’re Toasting Sam’s Cola

Excitement is bubbling in our beverage aisles this summer as we celebrate a major milestone for one of our first private brand items.

Sam’s Cola is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. I’m part of the beverage team who worked to refresh the taste of this iconic item ahead of this anniversary. Along the way, I found some interesting things.

While the ingredients have stayed the same, we do occasionally tweak formulation to ensure we’re delivering what customers want. The formula hadn’t been updated for some time until recently, when third-party testing showed it could use tinkering. It’s all about how our customers see quality.

While today’s customers are used to seeing retailers provide store-brand options, Sam’s Cola was a very new thing in 1991. The soda was one of three private brands launched in our grocery business.

Mark Clark, a member of the original carbonated soft drinks team for Walmart U.S. who now works in dry grocery and global food sourcing, once said, “If it hadn’t have been for the success of Sam’s American Choice [the soda’s name at the time], there’s a good chance we wouldn’t have done Great Value.”  He’s right.

Sam’s Cola paved the way for our private brands that customers love, like Great Value, Sam’s Choice and Marketside. Our private brands play a big role in how we help people save money without sacrificing quality. Plus, coming up with exciting new items within our private brands assortment is one of the reasons why I love working at Walmart.

Our founder, Sam Walton, was hesitant to go into the private label soda business. When the team approached him about launching what was then Sam’s American Choice, he had two requests: First, it had to be as good, if not better, than the national brands. Second, it had to be priced at a great value to the customer. Today, we still deliver a great item worthy of his name.

The idea started brewing when David Glass, then our chief executive officer, noticed a price and quality gap between national brands and other items on the market. He tasked merchants to come up with a unique-tasting soda that would please customers and help them save money.

Dallas Dobbs, who was also part of the original team, said it wasn’t easy breaking into the soda business in those days.

“Our job is to sell what the customers buy. We don’t create demand; we satisfy it,” explained Dallas, who is now a senior buyer.

The flavors were difficult to come up with, Dallas says, but the team ended up developing a high-quality product – and they did it with amazing speed. It took just three and a half months to go from pitching the idea to putting the product on store shelves. And, can you believe Doug McMillon, our current president and CEO, was the very first merchant for Sam’s Cola?

I’m particularly proud that ever since that first can, Sam’s Cola has been made in the United States. Sam was passionate about supporting U.S. manufacturing and approved production of the original cola in Columbus, Georgia. It launched in 2,300-plus stores with three versions: Cola, Diet Cola and Caffeine Free Diet Cola. Today, this customer favorite is sold in more than 4,600 Walmart stores across the U.S.

Look for special packaging featuring the original Walton 5 &10 store and Sam Walton’s pickup on large packs of Sam’s Cola through October and help us celebrate the 25th anniversary of a product that continues to be made with the customer in mind.

Be the first to comment on this article

Health & Wellness

Walmart Associate Conquers North Pole Marathon

Some people will go a long way to support charity. For Dorn Wenninger, vice president of global food sourcing for Walmart U.S., not even the North Pole is too far.

Dorn was one of 56 runners from 21 countries who participated in the 14th annual North Pole Marathon on April 9. Dubbed the “World’s Coolest Marathon,” the 26.2-mile race not only challenges endurance athletes with its snow-covered, icy terrain and bone-chilling weather, it also supports a variety of worthy causes with hundreds of thousands of dollars raised each year.

Crossing the finish line after five hours and 17 minutes, Dorn captured first place and secured his spot in an exclusive group of 428 people worldwide who have completed the marathon since 2002.

This year’s competitors ran to raise money for a variety of causes worldwide. Dorn, who has been with Walmart almost six years, serves on the boards of two nonprofit organizations: Cobblestone Farm in Northwest Arkansas and Amigos de las Americas. He will continue to raise money for Cobblestone Farm, which produces organic produce that is then donated to local food banks.

“I’m passionate about healthy eating, farming and produce,” he said.

His passion also extends to running. In January, he participated in a marathon in Trinidad and Tobago, where the temperature was 130 degrees warmer than the lowest temperature he experienced while at the North Pole.

Knowing that running on snow and ice would be different, he trained for the North Pole event on dirt and gravel trails. But the terrain wasn’t his only concern. With temperatures between -25 and -43 degrees Fahrenheit, his respiration froze and built up on his face mask. He used three different masks throughout the five-hour run and ended up with early signs of frost bite on his nose.

His North Pole adventure was supposed to last one and half days, but a crack in the runway prevented Dorn from flying out for three days. Despite the delay, he said the trip was an amazing experience.

Running is a great way to deal with stress, he said – even on 6 feet of ice floating on 14,000 feet of Arctic Ocean. It also can have a positive impact on other areas of life, from personal to business.

“Achieving the seemingly impossible helps demonstrate that almost anything is possible, even when others don’t believe it is,” he said. “Determination, focus and persistence go a long way in achieving goals.”

Dorn never imagined he’d win the North Pole race, but with that victory in hand, he now has his eye on a few other challenges just as difficult – or more so.

“It's incredible what people are capable of when they put their mind to it,” he said. “The thought of running a marathon at the North Pole sounds so extreme that it's virtually unbelievable. I welcomed the challenge of proving, to myself, that it is possible.”

Photos courtesy of North Pole Marathon.

Be the first to comment on this article

U.S. Manufacturing

Helping Customers Make a Difference with Their Dollars

Today, at our home office in Bentonville we hosted our annual U.S. Manufacturing Summit and Open Call where we met with our suppliers and hundreds of potential suppliers who were here to pitch their American-made items to sell at Walmart. More than 2,000 people were registered to attend this event, and we had 800 buyer meetings scheduled as part of Open Call.

The Summit and Open Call are part of our $250 billion commitment to buy products that support American jobs. It’s having a tangible impact on communities. We’ve seen factories re-opened and jobs created in communities across America. And our customers love it because when they buy products made or assembled here, they can impact communities and be agents of change, too. They can create jobs with what they buy! This is no small thing to a busy Walmart customer. They can make a difference with their dollars.

In addition to creating jobs with what they buy, our customers can also do their part for the planet when they buy items made here. Here is a cool example: A company called Eco-tech is taking our icing containers that our in-store bakeries use to ice cakes – and they are recycling them to make pet bowls and even Easter baskets.

I love that model! It helps us run an everyday low cost business but also delivers great products for the customer that are sustainable and made here.  

And because we are making items closer to the customer, that’s fewer miles items have to travel. Once we have completed this initiative, we will have taken 2.5 million shipping containers off the water by making products closer to the point of sale.

Walmart is proud to lead this initiative. Making products here in America matters to Walmart, it matters to me and it matters to our customers. Working with our suppliers to find innovative products is what makes merchandising so fun. Look out for these great  items on our shelves and make a difference with your dollars.

Be the first to comment on this article

U.S. Manufacturing

One Man’s Role in Preserving a National Pastime

When Darrell Davilla isn’t helping manufacture camping gear, he’s putting it to good use.

Darrell started enjoying the outdoors when he was a young man. And now nothing makes him happier than taking his grandkids camping on the shores of the lakes around his home in Wichita, Kansas.

He treasures the cold mornings, brewing coffee and cooking for the whole family. “Making breakfast is my favorite part,” he said, patting his stomach, “as you can probably tell.”

As much as he enjoys passing on the traditions of outdoor recreation to his grandchildren, Darrell appreciates his part in keeping alive the tradition of excellence associated with his company, Coleman. “To work for a world-class company that is a top name in the outdoor business … it means a lot.”

An inventory controller, Darrell started working at Coleman when he was just 19 years old. This is his 37th year at the company that makes everything from tents to stoves. From lanterns to furniture, all the way to apparel.  And he’s incredibly grateful for such a firm foundation on which to raise a family.

Whether he’s on a forklift, getting parts into the hands of the men and women on the assembly line, or on a computer, keeping track of inventory, Darrell feels good that quality camping gear, the very gear he uses himself, is making its way to families, often through Walmart stores.

He also appreciates that when Coleman brings manufacturing to the U.S., and when Walmart buys from U.S. companies like Coleman, that it means more jobs all over the country.

From Darrell’s perspective, that translates into more people who have the luxury to take their families on adventures in the great outdoors. Keeping traditions alive, like cooking over a roaring fire.

It’s a cherished part of Darrell’s camping trips with the grandkids.  “Except for making s’mores,” he said. “I’m not too good at that.”

Be the first to comment on this article