Walmart, Aldi’s, others making fresh and organic food moves

Consumer desire to buy more unprocessed fresh and organic foods has definitely gotten the attention of the mainstream food retailing world. Three articles crossed my email recently confirming that.If you want to eat low-salt, low-fat and low-sugar, fresh is certainly the way to go for most of your meals, as I’ve been advocating here since having an angioplasty in 2012.

Mondelez has to compete with fruit for the healthy snack trade, can it?
Fresh is increasingly where it’s at for today’s food retailers.

Bare-bones food retailer Aldi, which specializes in featuring sore brands to hold costs down, is making several moves in fresh foods, according to Forbes and other media reports.

“The retailer is expanding the number of fresh foods offered, placing an emphasis on the perimeter rather than the packaged and processed foods in the center of the store. It’s making sure that dairy products are free from artificial growth hormones and all private label products—90% of the store—are now free from synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils and added MSG.

“Checkout lanes are being reconfigured to replace chocolates and candy with single-serve packages of nuts, trail mixes, dried fruits and granola bars,” Forbes reports.

Festival Foods, a Wisconsin supermarket is another getting on the fresh bandwagon.

Festival Foods is expanding fresh, natural and organic offerings at the expense of traditional groceries, Mark Skogen, president and CEO of the Onalaska, Wis.-based company,” was quoted as saying in industry publication Supermarket News.

“This is what guests want. These are items they cannot order as easily online, and this is what will differentiate us from Walmart,” he told the trade pub.

Ironic he should mention Walmart, because it too is making moves in fresh food. “Wal-Mart Stores Inc will create hundreds of management positions as part of a new program aimed at improving the fresh food sections at its U.S. stores,” reported Reuters earlier this month.

I suspect that Walmart, like other major retailers, is learning that handling fresh food is a trickier proposition than moving around boxes of Huggies or other packaged goods with a relatively infinite shelf life.

“Wal-Mart has placed a renewed emphasis on fresh food under the strategy of Greg Foran, head of the company’s U.S. operations. Foran sees a better fresh food offering as key to reviving sales growth,” Reuters reported.

When you see the retail giant doing that, you know the food retailing landscape is changing in major, major ways. Over the years I’ve had my doubts about whether organic produce is actually any healthier, rather than just free of potentially dangerous pesticides. But more research is surfacing to bolster the organic case, such as this item that From the Ground Up North mentioned on its Facebook page recently.





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