Posts Tagged “WalMart”

Taking a Bite Out of Food Waste

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With 795 million people in the world reportedly going hungry, food waste is an ugly problem to face. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that consumers throw away $29 billion worth of edible food each year in their homes. Walmart is especially concerned with reducing food waste – not only because we’re the world’s largest grocer, but as an integral part of our EDLC philosophy that provides you everyday low prices.

Two culprits of food wastage are confusion caused by food labels and the tossing of imperfect, but perfectly usable, fresh produce.

Consumers often mistake date labels as food safety indicators; however, most of the labels are created based on peak quality. Adding to the confusion is the different language used on labels, including “best by”, “use by” and “sell by”. That’s why, in the last year, we started requiring suppliers of nonperishable food products under our Great Value private label to use a standardized date label, “Best if used by”.

The switch will go into full effect this month and involves thousands of products.

What really got our attention was a report released in 2013 by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America.  My team has been working on a solution since then.

After surveying our customers about how they would choose a food label that indicated a change in quality but not safety, there was a clear winner: “Best if used by”.  I expect the standard labels to have an even bigger impact on waste reduction since many of our suppliers sell products under their own labels outside of Walmart.  This is significant, as the global economic impact of food wastage comes to about $750 billion each year.

Although food waste has been making headlines in recent months, including an in-depth article in the Guardian, Walmart has been doing its part for more than a decade to create a zero waste future by affecting change in the way we do business and throughout our supply chain, especially where fresh produce is concerned.

For years we’ve worked with farmers to repurpose fruits and vegetables that may be slightly blemished or oddly shaped. These items usually make up a very small part of a harvest and aren’t a major contributor to food waste; however, we know every bit counts. A customer may not take home a triangle-shaped apple from our produce bins, but that apple is just as tasty when made into apple juice.

Earlier this year we began selling Spuglies, Russet potatoes that were less than perfect on the outside thanks to rough weather in Texas.  Working with our supplier, we found a way to offer these at a value price. Our wonky veg test at Asda in the UK was so popular, we now offer it year round when farmers have enough supply.

Because customers around the world shop very differently, our team here in the U.S. has been working for months on our first spec for this type of produce. We’re exploring the ways to make these items available while providing value to our customers and supporting farmers.

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Wood Grain Reusable Plastic Containers are Introduced

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IFCO1By IFCO

Tampa, Florida – IFCO, the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions, has announced the company’s new, innovative Wood Grain Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) have entered the produce supply chain and the first of an anticipated 30 million Wood Grain Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) have been shipped to fresh produce growers as partial fulfillment of an agreement reached between IFCO and Walmart. Kings River Packaging of Sanger, California, was the first Walmart supplier to receive IFCO Wood Grain RPCs.

“We were delighted to be the first Walmart supplier to receive Wood Grain RPCs,” said David Hines, President of Kings River. “These RPCs represent everything we’ve come to know and appreciate about IFCO RPC quality. The IFCO Wood Grain RPC features of additional vertical ribbing and enhanced latching are first-rate, and detailed wood grain texture really looks great. We think the retail customer will love it once in store.”

Last October, IFCO and Walmart announced IFCO will supply the world’s largest retailer with newly designed Wood Grain RPCs for its wet and dry produce, initially including apples, potatoes, onions and citrus items.

“Walmart customers deserve the very best shopping experience,” said Dorn Wenninger, Vice President of Produce for Walmart U.S.  “That means the best possible quality at the lowest possible price. Wood Grain RPCs are one of many changes we’re making to improve our overall fresh produce customer experience.”

IFCO has invested millions of dollars in the development of its Wood Grain RPCs.  They have undergone extensive, months-long real world and laboratory testing to verify their functionality and product protection capabilities.  They were designed to Walmart specifications and incorporated feedback received from the grower community. IFCO’s Wood Grain RPCs are the product of decades of manufacturing expertise and superior industrial design, brought to market in record time.

“IFCO has designed an innovative and unique fresh produce packaging solution that benefits growers, retailers and ultimately consumers,” said Daniel Walsh, President of IFCO North America. “Wood Grain RPCs have all the benefits of traditional RPCs with aesthetic appeal that helps them transition seamlessly from transportation and storage to in-store display.”

IFCO’s RPCs are more efficient, protect and cool product better and are more environmentally sustainable than one-way packaging.

IFCO has a strong commitment to supporting local economies, local companies and local workers in the marketplaces where it does business whenever possible.  In the United States, IFCO’s Wood Grain RPCs are 100% sourced and manufactured in America and meet the Federal Trade Commission’s standard for its “Made in the USA” country of origin label.  In addition, IFCO Wood Grain RPCs are cleaned and sanitized at one of six US service centers throughout their life cycle.

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Kid-Focused Produce Snacking Sections Now in Supermarkets

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DSCN2906+1Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average.  And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

So, with the back-to-school season underway and families thinking about what to pack in the lunch box, grocers are hoping to entice young consumers and their parents to the produce aisle by creating new, kid-focused snacking sections.

Giant Eagle is in the process of installing the go-to kid sections in about 200 stores in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio.  And Walmart is piloting the concept in 30 stores in California, with plans to roll it out to 1,500 stores later this fall.

Bolthouse Farms, the produce company that rolled out the successful extreme baby carrot campaign, is behind the effort.

The company has been developing products such as pureed fruit tubes that kids can suck and slurp, all-fruit smoothies and bags of baby carrots called Veggie Snackers that come with pouches of bright-colored, bold-flavored seasonings.

When kids open the package and shake in the seasoning, the carrots take on some of the characteristics of chips like Doritos. “They give you that crunch and flavor,” says Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse. “You’re going to lick your fingers, and get that same sensory [experience] you get with salty snacks.”

Dunn, a former Coca-Cola executive, is borrowing a lot of the marketing and design tactics used in the soda and snack industries to drive up demand in the healthy snacks business.

And many grocery retailers are eager to get in on the action. Laura Karet, CEO of Giant Eagle, says when she was first pitched the kid-focused destination in her stores’ produce aisles, she thought, “This is a win-win.”

“When I go into the produce section,” Karet says, “there’s not quite as much going on for [kids] compared to, say, the cereal aisle or the candy shelves.”

And she’s hoping the new approach will make the produce section pop for more kids. The price point, at $3.99 for multi-packs of Fruit Tubes and Veggie Snackers, is competitive, too.

 

 

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Walmart, Target are the Largest Retailers in the USA

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DSCN0416With $328 billion in U.S. retail sales, Walmart holds a dominant position as the largest retailer in the United States.

In 2012 Walmart had higher sales numbers than the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-largest retailers combined, according to STORES magazine’s annual report on the top 100 retailers in the United States. The U.S. accounts for approximately 70 percent of Walmart’s $467 billion in worldwide sales.

Kroger, with more than $92 billion in sales, came in second on the list. The Cincinnati-based company operates entirely in the U.S. and saw a 6.6 percent increase in sales from 2011 to 2012.

Target, another retailer operating entirely in the U.S., came in third, with just under $72 billion in sales and a 5.1 percent increase over 2011.

Costco, another large-format retailer, came in fourth at $71 billion in sales, but it also saw a 10.6 percent increase in sales over 2011.

According to the report, supermarkets on the Top 100 list had average sales of $21.2 billion in 2012.

Safeway, based in Pleasanton, CA, had the ninth-largest sales numbers for 2012. The $37.5 billion in U.S. sales accounted for nearly 89 percent of it’s global total.

A complete listing of the top 100 U.S. retailers is available at stores.org.

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ThermoKing, Utility Donate to Food Bank Program

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Salinas, CA – The mission to create a connection between the agricultural community and food assistance programs just got a little easier for the local nonprofit Ag Against Hunger. Due to a generous $50,000 grant from Walmart, along with discounts from ThermoKing, Utility Trailer, and Central Coast Sign Factory, Ag Against Hunger was able to purchase a beautiful brand new 53’ refrigerated trailer. The new trailer will replace an older model that will now be used as additional cold storage during the season when their cooler is at capacity. In 2011, the organization distributed 13.9 million lbs. of fresh nutritious produce to food banks in need, feeding over 3 million people. Executive Director Karen DeWitt says that she hopes the new trailer will help increase that amount by an additional 250,000 lbs. equaling 1.25 million servings.

Press release by Ag Against Hunger

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