Walmart and “Cheap” Organics

The latest large-scale retailer joining the organic movement is – rather surprisingly – Walmart. The monolithic superstore has announced that it will be carrying a line of organic products, and is encouraging consumers that they will be sold at cheaper prices than other retailers.

Before you get too excited, however, Walmart’s organics, at least at this stage, may not be as healthy as they seem. While it is a step in the right direction, the products that Walmart will be carrying are packaged organics, which still undergo processing and are not an optimal health choice.

The product line that Walmart will be carrying shortly is the Wild Oats brand of organics. Items will include organic salsas and broths, among about 100 other products. Walmart’s claim is that it will sell these products at a 25 to 40 percent lower price than its competition.

Many people see the organic label and automatically think the product must be safe and healthy. While it does offer significant reassurance, less-than-desirable substances still make their way into organic processed foods.

As we reported earlier, the Cornucopia Institute, a self-proclaimed “organic industry watchdog,” studied the matter, and found that over 100 synthetic and non-organic additives are approved for use in organic foods.

These include synthetic glucose syrup solids, synthetic solvents such as isopropyl alcohol, processed natural derivatives that no longer resemble their natural state, and even genetically modified DHA and ARA oils grown in a medium of GMO corn. Plus, organic processed products are often rife with sugar – and organic sugar is still just sugar – and processing methods leave plenty of opportunity for contamination.

Don’t get us wrong: the fact that a huge retailer like Walmart is recognizing the demand for organic foods is a big step, and shows how much more health conscious our nation is becoming.

Heather White, the executive director of the Environmental Working Group, stated: “This decision by Walmart could be the biggest driver yet in realizing a future where organic food is not only less expensive, but more available.”

shoppingAll we are stressing is an organic processed food is still a processed food, and making our own meals at home from whole organic ingredients – not those that come from a box or can – is the best choice for health. While it can sometimes be more costly to go this route, there are ways to make it work financially.

Check out our article for ideas on how to enjoy organic produce and other whole, organic foods without going over-budget.

-The Alternative Daily

Update August 5, 2014

In response to this article, the CEO of Wild Oats, Tom Casey, reached out to us to share a few comments. We appreciate his time, contribution and passion for affordable organic fare.

“Almost 90 percent of Wild Oats products are USDA Certified Organic, and all of our products prohibit 125 unwanted ingredients. You can review a complete list of our “125 No-No’s” here. Currently, more than 85 percent of Wild Oats products are manufactured in the U.S. Examples of products not made in the US include a pasta plant in Italy and a cookie maker in Canada.

Our goal is to deliver savings of at least 25 percent compared to other organic brands, and to price Wild Oats products at parity with conventional non-organic brands. In order to do this, we have found efficiencies in all aspects of our business that allow us to  pass these savings on to our customers.  

 We believe that everyone has a right to great-tasting, high-quality products that are affordable and easy to find. Our product launch at Walmart is making that possible.”



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