Aiming higher: Walmart looks for better produce results

06/04/2013 12:12:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstWal-Mart is trying to shape up its produce department image. Check out The Packer’s coverage here. This follows coverage in April that reviewed Wal-Mart’s out of stock issues.

This week’s development is told in the chain’s own release

From the release:

BENTONVILLE, Ark., June 3, 2013 – Walmart, the nation's largest grocer and seller of produce, announced today new efforts that will ensure the quality and freshness of the fruits and vegetables that it offers customers. The retailer is standing behind this promise by rolling out a 100 percent money-back guarantee* and making changes across produce sourcing, training and operations.

"We're listening to our customers and delivering on our promise to offer great produce at the most affordable price," said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of the food business for Walmart U.S. "We are so sure our customers will be pleased with the fruits and vegetables they buy in our stores, they can receive a full refund if they aren't completely happy."

The retailer's initiative includes:

• Delivering produce from farms to store shelves faster by purchasing fruits and vegetables directly from growers and leveraging Walmart's produce experts, distribution centers and trucking systems;

• Executing independent weekly checks in its more than 3,400 Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Express Stores that sell produce; and,

• Launching Fresh Produce Schools and other expanded training programs to 70,000 associates.

"Walmart has always been focused on providing its customers with top-quality fruits and vegetables, including our Cuties brand," said Berne H. Evans III, chairman of Sun Pacific, a Walmart produce supplier. "As a direct result of how Walmart has stored and handled our product, both Cuties and our Ripe and Easy Kiwis have been tremendous sales success stories at Walmart."

Leveraging Produce Experts and Delivering Fruits and Vegetables to Customers Faster

To improve quality and freshness, Walmart has hired produce experts to work directly with farmers in the key growing regions where the company has produce-buying offices. Building long-term partnerships with farmers while having Walmart associates in the regions – and in the fields everyday – where produce is grown has made it possible for Walmart to select farmers who grow the best fruits and vegetables. As part of this program, Walmart works closely with local growers in the U.S. to fulfill its commitment to double the company's sales of locally grown produce by December 2015.


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