Is Walmart Really Going Local & Organic?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For the last few years Walmart has touted its new commitment to organic and local food. (For a sampling of its news headlines, see here, here, here, and here).

How’s that effort going? Mother Jones investigates.

Produce industry analyst Jim Prevor (editor of the blog Perishable Pundit) tells Tom Philpott in this recent Mother Jones article that, yes, Walmart is buying from more growers, but they’re still large-scale farmers who can afford to offer cheap produce. (He also notes that because Walmart defines “local” as any produce sold in the same state as it was produced, it has only to “open more stores in California” to officially increase local sales numbers – an industry joke.)

As far as organic food goes, the push isn’t really about produce at all, but rather nonproduce items like milk and baby food.

Prevor told me that its buyers had tried aggressively to bring in much more organic produce, but “they just couldn’t find operations with sufficient quantity to supply them.” A company of Walmart’s size simply can’t devote resources to “chasing down small organic apple wholesalers and buying 60 cases of apples because that’s all they have.” Walmart doesn’t say how much of the produce it sells is organic, but “I’d be surprised if it’s more than 2 percent of the total produce,” Prevor said.
Read More: Is Walmart Really Going Organic and Local? | Mother Jones

(Image: Walmart via The Atlantic)