Wal-Mart: NOT Going Organic?


The announcement came a year ago that Wal-Mart was going organic. There was much controversy around the issue and many of you wrote in to tell us your thoughts. Now it seems the retailer may be taking a step backward and a number of organic farmers across the country say that Wal-Mart has backed off of aggressive plans to offer more organic foods. "Is organic really compatible with the Wal-Mart approach? We're finding out that it's not," says Jim Riddle, organic outreach coordinator and guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota. From the article in Business Week: "The retailer's existing customers tend to be very price-conscious and may not be willing to pay a premium for organic foods. On the other hand, consumers who go to stores like Whole Foods and Wild Oats are less price-sensitive and may not be lured to Wal-Mart with low prices. 'The Whole Foods customer is walking in there to buy organic and is more concerned about how the fruit was farmed,' says Peter Ricker, and apple farmer in Maine, 'but the Wal-Mart customer is used to shopping with a calculator.'" Farmers like Ricker are now dealing with the fallout from Wal-Mart's faltering demand. He has decided to pare back his organic apple farm, from 150 acres to 120 acres. Read more at ::Business Week

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