As part of our commitment to purchase an additional $250
billion in U.S. made products over ten years, Walmart is opening our doors and
you’re invited. On July 8 in
Bentonville, Arkansas, we are hosting the first ever Open Call for U.S. made
We invite our current suppliers that want to present new
products as well as potential suppliers with U.S. manufactured products. They’ll
have a chance to meet with buyers and hear from senior leaders at Walmart and Walmart.com.
While our buyers are always looking for new products for our customers, this is
the first time that we are putting out an open invitation for products Made in
Space is limited. In addition to being domestically
produced, applicants will be evaluated on the ability of their items to meet
Walmart customer needs including:
design, quality and innovation
competitive costing and value
fit within merchandising strategy
execute: production and logistics
Registration is required and is open now through June 6.
Once registered, companies will be asked to provide basic product and company
information. Based upon that information, companies will be notified by June 17
if an appointment will be scheduled.
Are you interested in learning more about Open Call or possibly
attending on July 8? Check out our commitment
to U.S. Manufacturing and learn how to become a Walmart supplier.
My team ended 2015 in a big way. After months of hard work, we opened
the first Walmart store in Nicaragua, offering our everyday low prices on a
wide assortment of 40,000 products – a very significant value proposition for
the Nicaraguan market. We know this to be true because people are welcoming us
with open arms.
The day we opened, literally hundreds of enthusiastic people attended the
grand opening of our supercenter in Managua, ready to save money on everything
from clothes, electronics and paint to toys, appliances and groceries. Watching
the excitement and knowing that this store is making a difference for these
people reminded me once again of our mission to help people live better by
simply paying less for the things they need.
This is a $17 million investment in a modern, comfortable store of
5,890 square meters (over 63,000 square feet) that created 150 direct jobs (the
associates that will work in the supercenter) and 1,575 estimated indirect jobs
(jobs as a result of the supercenter such as cleaning crews and suppliers). And,
because we strongly encourage the growth of local businesses, a great majority
of our assortment comes from small and medium-sized Nicaraguan suppliers.
Walmart operates 87 stores in Nicaragua under other formats like Palí (discount),
Maxi Palí (warehouse) and La Union (supermarket), but this is the first Walmart-branded
location. We are now offering the distinctive standard of service, price and
assortment through our iconic Walmart supercenter. And the excitement we’ve
seen is definitely our major reward.
When I moved from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, S.C., five years
ago, it marked a new beginning for me. I was stepping away from 20 years in the
insurance business, into a warmer climate and yearning to return to my culinary
When I was growing up, my family owned a food processing
plant. I was running a restaurant up north by the time I was 19. I’ve always
been curious about flavors and what’s out there. Whenever I travel, I’m that
guy who only eats local cuisine. And
when I began digging into my new surroundings, I discovered the history of
gumbo in the U.S. – which people naturally associate with Louisiana – can actually
be traced back to South Carolina in the 1600s.
The first recipe I developed when I set foot in Myrtle Beach
was my own gumbo. There were so many beautiful ingredients down here – fresh
shrimp, whitefish, Andouille sausage, okra – and when I dipped my spoon into
that first bowl, I had a moment. I thought, “This is it. I’ve really got
I knew this was a recipe that would make South Carolina
proud. My gumbo immediately started winning people over at local farmers
markets and festivals. I looked into opportunities to get my product on the
market, from selling to local restaurants to partnering with a delivery service
in the area. But the day the district manager at our local Walmart gave me 15
minutes of his time – that was the day everything changed.
That was Dec. 17, 2013. When I walked out 45 minutes later,
it was with the understanding we had a deal. By May 2015, my Carolina Gumbaya was being sold in
the frozen section of 17 Walmart stores in South Carolina. Today, that’s grown
to 137 Walmart stores in five states, including Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
It really has been an amazing experience, to see so many
people embrace this recipe I created in the kitchen of my own home. But when
people ask me if it has taken me by surprise, I have to tell them, “Honestly,
Frozen food has come a long way in recent years. Carolina Gumbaya – a name drawn
from the words gumbo and jambalaya – isn’t packed with fillers and
preservatives. The label doesn’t have words you can’t pronounce. There are 12
whole, wild-caught shrimp in every one-quart container. And the blonde roux I developed,
along with my secret spices, are a few of the differentiating factors.
Turn on any food channel or open a food publication and
you’re going to hear about the flavor of the South. It’s the South’s time to
shine on the culinary stage – so products like mine have an opportunity to
spread across the country. Along the way, Walmart’s commitment to domestic
manufacturing is opening the door for small entrepreneurs like my business
partner, Laura Spencer, and me. Products like Carolina Gumbaya are helping
create jobs at growing U.S.-based companies like Duke Food Productions, the
company who helps produce our product. These kinds of stories are a win-win for
everyone. And we’re just getting started.
Feb. 8 marks the start of Chinese New Year, China’s most important celebration for families. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a weeklong public holiday during which families celebrate a year of hard work and wish for good luck in the coming year.
Those shopping in our stores in China see lots of Chinese New Year decorations and traditional foods stocked for this busy time. For readers who aren’t in China, here’s some background on the celebrations.
Traditional Family Meals
Before the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar, people all over China travel to their hometowns to unite with their families and decorate their homes in red — a color that symbolizes good luck and joy — and prepare for Chinese New Year celebrations. The night before the Chinese New Year, we prepare a feast made up of symbolic foods:
In Chinese culture, a fish course represents wealth in the future, while peanuts signify longevity and good health.
Some food symbolism in Chinese New Year dishes is more visual, such as hot pot, which involves simmering meat and vegetables in a round pot at the center of the table. The shape of the pot represents perfection and satisfaction.
Dumplings are an example of a food with a more historical tie because they resemble the gold currency — Yuanbao — used in ancient China. Today, dumplings are still thought to signify wealth in the coming year and are a delicious treat stuffed with different fillings.
Like with New Year’s Eve in the U.S. and other western countries, Chinese New Year involves staying up late. We light firecrackers at midnight, a tradition that dates back to ancient folklore. Though the New Year is a cause for celebration now, legend has it that Chinese villagers used to stoke their fires with bamboo to keep away a terrifying, sharp-toothed monster that arose from the sea at the end of the lunar year to prey on people and livestock. Now, we use firecrackers to celebrate the new year and also scare off any bad luck that might be on the horizon.
Celebrations culminate in the Lantern Festival, where people gather to admire the illuminated lanterns (some floating, some carried by children, some fixed as decorations) and guess riddles written on them. On New Year’s Day, people also watch lion dances, in which participants don elaborate, mythical lion costumes that seem larger than life — and eat rice dumplings.
One of our family traditions is for children and grandchildren to wish elders in the family good wishes for the new year and, in turn, the elders will give children a red envelope of money for good luck and to buy toys and books. Children often sleep with the red envelope under the pillow to bring good luck throughout the year.
The Year of the Monkey
This year is the year of the monkey, the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. People born in the year of the monkey are believed to be energetic, witty and mischievous. I look forward to greeting the year of the monkey surrounded by my family and enjoying the snacks and festivities that come with the celebrations. No matter your Chinese zodiac, may the New Year bring good fortune to you and your family!
Sr. Director – Private Brand Food Initiatives, Walmart
February 04, 2016
Big change is coming to the grocery aisles.
The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration has mandated that partially hydrogenated oils – most
commonly found in industrially produced fats and oils – be
eliminated as a food ingredient by June 2018. Research clearly shows a link
between trans fats and cardiovascular disease. So a timetable has been set to
A big reason why I work for Walmart is that we’re constantly
looking for ways we can help people live better – oftentimes, before federal mandates
like these are handed down. In fact, by the end of this month, we anticipate having
successfully removed all partially hydrogenated oils from Walmart private brand
food – such as Great
Value – sold in our U.S. stores, a goal
we’ve been working toward since 2011. But we’re not stopping there.
Simultaneously, we’ve been working to reduce sodium in
Walmart’s private brand foods and national brand food products by 25% and added
sugars by 10% by the end of December 2015. We’ve long since surpassed our
sugar-related reformulation goal. And, while we’re tracking about 5% behind our
sodium reduction goal – results through December 2015 are being vetted and will
be announced publicly this spring – we continue to work toward completion and
are proud of the precedent we're setting across the grocery industry.
There have been some big wins along the way to help us move
the needle. One example was when we set out to reduce sodium in all varieties
of Great Value Potato Chips and Great Value Kettle Cooked Chips. We
successfully removed a combined 30 tons of sodium from 36 million bags of chips
annually. And, according to test data, we did so without compromising taste. To
put that into perspective, 30 tons is equivalent to an entire Walmart truck
(cab and trailer) or about 70 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
In the end, every slice of progress in the reformulation of
the thousands of private and national brand food items Walmart sells
contributes to a healthier tomorrow for our customers. But the reality is, you
can’t simply go out and turn the dial down on sodium, sugar and trans fats and
say, ‘We’re there. We did it.’ Our palates are accustomed to certain tastes, so
the key is taking small, incremental steps toward long-term change. You're
basically giving consumers’ palates a chance to adjust rather than shocking
them all at once.
Every step forward involves extensive time, testing,
evaluation and more. Many of the wins we’re realizing today are several years
in the making – and, in most cases, there was no road map for how to get there.
As senior director of private brand food initiatives,
I’ve been deeply entrenched in helping develop a road map. We recognized, for
example, that the majority of sodium in the diet of the average American comes
from processed foods. So we’ve focused our efforts on the 47 most popular
processed food categories, which include such examples as cheeses, cereal,
crackers, canned tomatoes and more.
One interesting discovery along the way
was that the sodium within the recipes of our own Great Value breads varied
from one production facility to another. So by working with each facility to
understand needs and challenges, we were able to develop a standardized process
that, in turn, helped produce long-term results in sodium reduction. There are
a variety of hurdles and challenges to reformulation work within private
brands, and there is the potential for even more with national brands. But
we’ve already proven that, with a relentless work ethic, real progress can be
made in the areas of sodium, sugar and trans fat reformulation. We continue to
identify and zero in on additional opportunities.
There was a day when all of this seemed
so overwhelming. But we’re creating a road map. We’re building best practices.
We’re growing relationships, learning from our experiences and helping to
influence a healthier tomorrow.