Thursday, February 25, 2010

Corby Kummer: Walmart vs. Whole Foods

Earlier this year I was in a SuperTarget, which sells fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, some of it organic. While I didn’t buy anything, I was surprised at the variety of attractively displayed offerings.

I am lucky enough to live in a major urban center with an extensive network of farmers’ markets and other high-quality food stores. But would I think of shopping for groceries at a mass retailer better known for its deals on, well, everything else?

In the March issue of The Atlantic, Corby Kummer, who has been writing about food forever, conducted a taste test pitting identical meals made from foods bought at Whole Foods and Walmart.

Walmart held its own, which was a little surprising to Kummer. But considering Walmart’s new interest in supporting local farmers through its Heritage Agriculture program, this could be a boon for improving how America eats.

Kummer neatly sums up Walmart’s influence:
"In an ideal world, people would buy their food directly from the people who grew or caught it, or grow and catch it themselves. But most people can’t do that. If there were a Walmart closer to where I live, I would probably shop there.

"Most important, the vast majority of Walmarts carry a large range of affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. And Walmarts serve many 'food deserts,' in large cities and rural areas—ironically including farm areas."

Read Kummer's article.

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