Walmart is attempting to capitalize on the interest in fresh, local produce. Will their 100% no questions money back guarantee put them at the head of the new local food movement?
Walmart long has provided a money-back guarantee on practically everything it sells, of course, but customers no longer will need to bring back the produce in question—just the receipt. The chain is also producing a “major produce advertising campaign,” Sinclair said, which will feature the real-life substitution of Walmart produce for regular fare at a California farmstand and focus on consumer reactions.
Redoubling its efforts on “local” sourcing of produce is also a big component of Walmart’s new produce push. (By “local,” Walmart means sourcing within a state.) Three years ago, the company had pledged to double its locally sourced produce by 2015, and Sinclair said “that program is well on its way.”
But in particular now, Walmart has been cutting out the middleman by delivering more produce from farms to store shelves, purchasing directly from growers and leveraging the company’s produce experts, distribution centers and trucking systems; about 80 percent of its produce now is being sourced directly. Walmart has also dispersed its produce buyers from headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to places around the country, especially strong produce-growing regions such as California and Florida.
No doubt, skeptics are legion. However, it is intriguing that market and cultural forces are compelling the largest seller of fresh produce in the world to speak in terms of local production of food and to back up that talk with actual programs to source produce locally.