The Great Grocery Smackdown, Part I

The Atlantic Monthly takes a look at Walmart’s efforts to horn in on the organic/local market. And then, a taste test:

I would buy two complete sets of ingredients, one at Walmart and the other at Whole Foods. The chef would prepare them as simply as possible, and serve two versions of each course, side by side on the same plate, to a group of local food experts invited to judge.

You might be surprised by what they found.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

3 thoughts

  1. I’m pretty sure (could be wrong, of course, never really noticed one way or t’other) that our local WMs don’t buy local produce and only buy a limited amount of organic produce, i.e., the organic bananas that Chiquita provides along with their regular bananas. We still buy produce at Schnuck’s, although we buy most of our groceries at WM, primarily because even when the quality of the produce seems equivalent, the WM produce goes bad more quickly (coincidence? bean-counting savvy?).

  2. The wealth of WM’s resources is difficult to grasp unless you’ve lived in the region where they’re based. A lot of people think of it as some sort of hillbilly-run operation, but it’s not. The people who run WM are slick, sly and incredibly smart. If they want to accomplish something, such as move into the organic business, they can. But, they only do anything if it will make them money (not their fault really, they’re a business, that’s what they do). I have a hard time believing that they care about the small farmer anymore than they care about the small hardware store or the small pharmacy. They’re doing this because it’s good for their reputation and will bring in customers. Once they’ve driven their competitors out of business, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go back to offering the cheap crap that they always have. Oh, the good stuff might stick around in markets like Austin or the west coast, but I doubt they would keep it here.

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