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Wal Mart vs Whole Foods
Old 02-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #1
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Wal Mart vs Whole Foods

The Great Grocery Smackdown

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He was right. In the grocery section of the Raynham supercenter, 45 minutes south of Boston, I had trouble believing I was in a Walmart. The very reasonable-looking produce, most of it loose and nicely organized, was in black plastic bins (as in British supermarkets, where the look is common; the idea is to make the colors pop). The first thing I saw, McIntosh apples, came from the same local orchard whose apples I’d just seen in the same bags at Whole Foods. The bunched beets were from Muranaka Farm, whose beets I often buy at other markets—but these looked much fresher. The service people I could find (it wasn’t hard) were unfailingly enthusiastic, though I did wonder whether they got let out at night.
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I started looking into how and why Walmart could be plausibly competing with Whole Foods, and found that its produce-buying had evolved beyond organics, to a virtually unknown program—one that could do more to encourage small and medium-size American farms than any number of well-meaning nonprofits, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with its new Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food campaign.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:07 PM   #2
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Not surprising re: produce. Our local walmart has a huge ethnic population shopping there, and these folks buy a ton of fresh fruits and veggies. So the stock stays fresh as it has frequent turnover. Biggest problem is keeping the shelves stocked. The produce bins clear out quickly at our walmart.

Reminds me of the old saying "that place was so busy no one ever goes there".

I haven't really noticed any push toward local produce. I'm always amazed when I buy a bag of 5-10 loose oranges, bananas, or avocados and look at the labels, and see South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, etc. Throughout a typical day I'm eating foods literally from around the world.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:06 PM   #3
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I haven't really noticed any push toward local produce. I'm always amazed when I buy a bag of 5-10 loose oranges, bananas, or avocados and look at the labels, and see South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, etc. Throughout a typical day I'm eating foods literally from around the world.
Well, when it's winter in most of the Northern Hemisphere, you will get a lot of fruits from Central and South America. There's not a lot of fresh and ripe "local produce" for many of us this time of year...
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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No WM's with groceries in NJ...co-w*rker said one is coming soon...
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:34 PM   #5
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...The service people I could find (it wasn’t hard) were unfailingly enthusiastic, though I did wonder whether they got let out at night.
I was in Walmart about an hour ago. I wandered down the hot cereal aisle, searching for wheat germ. Asked a "stock person" where I could find it and got a slack-jawed response.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:45 PM   #6
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I was in Walmart about an hour ago. I wandered down the hot cereal aisle, searching for wheat germ. Asked a "stock person" where I could find it and got a slack-jawed response.
Surprised he didn't quickly say 'we ain't got NO germs here ma'am, we clean up every night!'
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:54 PM   #7
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Wal Mart is the closest grocery store to my house so I shop there once in awhile when I don't feel like driving further. I buy produce, organic milk, detergent, toiletries, a certain line of organic frozen entrees, etc. but not much else. Wal Mart is definitely cheaper on many things compared to the biggest local competitor. And I think their produce is pretty comparable. I like Whole Foods but the only location is about a 30 mile drive in to the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh. I wouldn't shop at any place exclusively as I do try to get the best value and this involves a bit of comparison shopping.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #8
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Yes, the quality produce at our local Wal-mart is limited - especially the organic options. And the nearest Whole Foods Market is 250 miles away!

But fortunately we have a fantastic regional chain that learned how to compete with Whole Foods years ago (both headquartered in TX) and offers great produce at really great prices.

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Old 02-22-2010, 08:47 PM   #9
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Audrey--you must mean HEB! Are there any Central Market stores near you?
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:19 PM   #10
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Audrey--you must mean HEB! Are there any Central Market stores near you?
Yep - HEB. No, no Central Market stores in the Rio Grande Valley. But since HEB redesigned most of their grocery stores to incorporate many of the Central Market innovations, and the Central Market line of products are available, I don't really miss one.

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