Walmart announced today that it will expand its organic food line under the Wild Oats brand at a price point some 25 percent less than its competitors.
Beginning with a concentrated launch in 2,000 stores over the coming months, the existing Wild Oats brand will become more than 90 percent organic. The grocery giant's move will likely raise prices on organics for the immediate future. However, a substantial increase in organic production, distribution, and supply is ultimately expected to lower prices across the country. Time will tell if other conventional grocers will have to lower prices to adjust.
Sparking the new initiative, Walmart's internal research found that 91 percent of its customers would buy organic foods if they were affordable. Jumping on the bandwagon, Target also announced earlier this week that it would expand organic offerings as well.
"Younger people are much more interested in the chemistry of their lives, and so for them the issue of pesticides is a troubling one," Lynn Clarkson, founder of Clarkson Grain, told the New York Times.
To keep prices down, Walmart aims to take out the middlemen and strike long-term deals with farmers to create a direct supply chain.