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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Organic Food-Super Target or Walmart Supercenter?

America's two largest retailers, Walmart and Target, both operate large, "hypermarket" versions of their traditional stores, both of which carry a full line of groceries. While both carry a large selection of standards groceries, both companies have also begun to focus on fresh, healthy foods for the health minded consumer. So how do the two match up?

Walmart: According to a recent analysis by Scarborough Research, Walmart Supercenters sell more organic produce than any other store in the United States. Due to its large size, Walmart is able to offer the lowest prices around on most organic foods, including milk, grains, and the majority of produce, including apples, bananas, peppers, and carrots. However, there has also been criticism of Walmart's organic foods. Since Walmart constantly strives to provide the lowest-priced products around, some organic food consumers have accused Walmart of cutting corners with their products, and labeling foods as organic, even when they may contain pesticides or other non-organic chemicals.

Target: Target stores, including both Super Target and a growing number of regular Target stores to include fresh grocery, display their organic products prominently. While Walmart's website makes little mention of their organic line, Target's website provides consumers with recipes, nutrition information, and information on where their organic products have been grown. Target's organic food is generally slightly more expensive than Walmart's, however the difference is very rarely any more than 5%.

Verdict: Super Target. Although Walmart offers the cheapest organic food, doubts about whether or not it may be poorly prepared or misrepresented reflect negatively on Walmart's line of organic foods. Target's intangibles, including recipe ideas, buying guides, and easy-to-find nutrition information, make paying slightly more for their organic food worth it.

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