Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is discontinuing the Wild Oats store brand of organic foods just two years after its introduction.
Walmart acquired rights to sell the brand after the Wild Oats grocery chain was bought by Whole Foods Market in 2007. As part of that purchase agreement, Whole Foods was required to divest a number of stores and the brand name itself.
The Wild Oats name was purchased by Yucaipa Cos., which then sold the products in its Fresh & Easy stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. It then inked a deal with Walmart to carry the items in Walmart stores as well.
It was part of Walmart's push to include more natural and organic items as shoppers increasingly seek out affordable options. Organic and natural food buyers are no longer isolated among upper-income consumers, as evidenced by Whole Foods' struggle to remain relevant in the face of stepped-up competition.
Today, supermarket chains such as Kroger and Aldi are expanding choices in the natural, organic and free-from categories. Walmart and Target have also been expanding healthier food choices across multiple categories, including at the checkout lane.
Walmart isn't abandoning its efforts to expand healthy options. Rather, it is switching tactics and adding more fresh produce and expanding organic and natural options under its Great Value store brand, according to sources familiar with the matter.
In January, Walmart added Great Value branded organic items to stores in Canada.
- see this Denver Post article
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