Walmart Marketing Strategy with the Right Focus

Walmart Marketing


Michelle Obama’s fight against obesity led retail giant Walmart to shift its marketing strategy to a more desired direction: healthier foods. According to The New York Times, the retailer will announce a five-year plan on Thursday to make some of its packaged foods lower in unhealthy salts, fats and sugars, and to drop prices on fruits and vegetables.

To make sure that there were no misunderstandings, Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for corporate affairs answered an obvious question before even being asked: “This is not about asking the farmers to accept less for their crops,” and stated that Walmart will be cutting into its own profits but hopes to make up for it in sales volume.

Walmart will press its major food suppliers to follow its lead. For instance, they are confident that Kraft, which apparently delivers 16% of its global sales through Walmart, will also reduce salts, fats and sugars in its line of products.

So far, everything rosy. What puzzles is that Walmart decided to implement this change slowly, over a period of five years. The main reason is obvious: healthier food costs more, and since Walmart decided not to increase prices, but to lower them, they expect some “financial hurdles.” But the company gave a second reason, which is indicative of what they think about their consumers. Apparently, people have to get used to the taste of healthier food… because “It doesn’t do you any good to have healthy food if people don’t eat it.”

I am sure our readers are intelligent enough to understand what’s wrong with the statement above, for those who don’t, here’s the scoop. Walmart believes that their consumers would rather buy food that makes them sick, than choose healthy foods. I am sure many customers go to a store and pick a cheaper product instead of, let’s say, organic veg, because they are trying to save some money. And I bet that, if given the choice at a decent price, people would rather buy healthy foods.

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Comments

  1. sidder says

    Something needs to be done about how healthy our foods should be.American are to over wight as it is.We need this implemented now.

  2. Froggy says

    Michele Obama is doing this all wrong. Judging by the response of bozozozo, she should be education the consumers first. You cannot blame Walmart for believing their customers will not make healthier choices. As you see, it’s their own society fighting against a change that would help so many children in the US. They are determined that they like food rich in fats, sugars and salts. They are convinced that healthy food doesn’t taste better. And they do consider food in the same category with booze, snacks and cigarettes. It’s the Walmart culture, it’s a trend set by this corporation and the likes of McDonalds. Take them out, and bozozozo will have to consider telling her kids, “look, this will not kill you, so damn eat it.” And if they don’t, here’s someone who would.

  3. bozozozo says

    by the way,

    “Everyone knows that a tomato grown organically tastes better than one forced to grow, for example. Premium prices for such items make people choose mass production.”

    I think YOU may know that it tastes better: you may have a base upon which to have formed an opinion. People who have not been exposed to anything other than standard forced tomatoes may NOT think an organically grown tomato tastes better.

    My first taste of beer was not an epiphany. It took a while to develop a taste for standard American beers, and longer to develop a taste for beers from different areas of the country and the world.

    And, I find, when I set “healthy” foods in front of my kids, no matter how “good” is to me, if they haven’t seen it before, their response is “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it”.

    • Mihaela Butler says

      If your children say the hell with it when they hear spinach that’s YOUR fault. Children’s tastes are formed young, by the choices their parents make. By the way their parents cook. My children eat spinach, peas, broccoli, and they LOVE it. But I guess you are right, it’s definitely a cultural difference. So let me correct my statement above: people all over the world except Walmart shoppers would rather buy healthy food. And comparing day to day grocery with popcorn and cigarettes is a bit ignorant, don’t you think?

  4. bozozozo says

    geez.

    guys, I’m just saying that people eat what they are used to eating. they don’t necessarily think about healthy versus not healthy, they just know what they like. and if you give them a choice between something that is healthy, but they are not used to, and something that is not healthy, and they are used to, guess which they will choose.

    an example would be popcorn at movies. I’m not certain there are many less healthy food, in terms of the junk value, calories, fat, salt, with a large part of that problem being the sheer volume of popcorn (who can resist getting twice as much for only 30% more cost?). If a movie theater chain suddenly began making healthful movie popcorn, it would not be long for this world, since a great deal of their gross is from the concession stand: people would not like it because they would not be used to it, and they would go to other theater chains.

    the gradualism proposed by Walmart is an excellent way to move Walmart customer taste in the direction of health, and the clout they have with their suppliers is an excellent way to move their suppliers toward delivering healthier products.

    it’s not perfect, but nothing is. and Walmart, though certainly interested in the bottom line, surely must realize that one way to grow its customer base is to have them live longer. In that way, they are at least better than the tobacco companies.

  5. bozozozo says

    um, you really believe that people will choose healthy food over food they are used to but less healthy?

    I really think their (Walmart) idea is a very good one. Many people are used to foods high in fat and salt and sugar, and that is what they will buy, unless there is either a clear and significant penalty in doing so (higher prices for the unhealthy food, or you change their taste. And taste changes gradually. Look how long it took for tastes to change in smoking, when the evidence of its harm is so overwhelming, and even now when the cost is high. People are no reasonable in their personal choices, and it is good that Walmart (believe me, they are expert in peoples choices) understands that.

    • Mihaela Butler says

      bozozozo, I am sure Walmart is very used with people thinking like you, but I really believe that, if they were given the choice: healthy foods, and unhealthy foods at the same price, they’ll opt for the first. Everyone knows that a tomato grown organically tastes better than one forced to grow, for example. Premium prices for such items make people choose mass production.

      Also, people don’t choose ready-made food because the necessarily like the taste. They choose it because it is filling, reasonably priced and it saves them time.
      Your argument only validates Walmart’s idea that customers are cattle and they don’t know what they want. And no, Walmart doesn’t understand anything, as you suggest. It just sets the trends. In the US. That’s it.

    • Phil Butler says

      Bozozozo, While some of your assertions may be correct, the real issues here run far deeper than fat and salt gobbling Walmart shoppers. It’s about ALL Walmart shoppers, no matter what products they waste their income on. You and every other American is witnessing, no – actually feeling the mid to end result of what Walmart and corporate devils like them have wrought via their greed. Every penny you put into the Walton family coffers takes the very food out of your own mouth. We need not argue this actually.

      Sorry to get on my soap box but these people would carve your liver out for a appetizer if they thought they could get away with it. Walmart institutes a 5 year plan? Heavens to Murgattroid, any time someone mentions 5 or 10 year plans it makes me shudder. While you may be right about people preferring foods with enough salt and sugar in them to choke a wildebeest, I believe that sooner or later companies like Walmart (BP, Procter & Gamble, you name the drug company, even our own government) will feel in their nostrils the stench of all this bullshit so strong no blue light, cost cutter, rollback price jargon will stir them to enter the greasy doors of Walmart ever again.

      The inclusion of this company’s name in the same library where books about doing the right thing are stored is sheer sacrilege in my opinion. People all over the United States, millions of them, sit now in the shadow of an American Dream they once had – they ponder there, amid their freaking Walmart trinkets salvaged from their repossessed home, what went wrong. In their pitifully inept way, they know something went horribly wrong. But somehow, the pressure of life, the insanity of a million idiots barking more bullshit over the airwaves and digital twackery sway their minds from the truth. The Waltons, and people like them, have literally destroyed any hope Americans have of a safe and prosperous future.

      So, in conclusion, while my rant may seem like the delusional mutterings of disenchantment, the reality is exactly as I have stated it. Downtown America is gone, America does not even produce its own nuts and bolts any more – the country has become a herd of McDonald’s workers trying to buy a cheeseburger at Burger King, and all the while expecting their ship of prosperity to come in. Those so called “little Chinese” people Americans joke about (yes our bigotry still rests underneath the facade) are not stupid. China just invaded the rest of the world and most people are too obtuse to realize it. I think if you think about what I am saying, rather than reacting because I did not agree with you, maybe my hallucination could help.

      What Americans need to ween themselves off of is not cigarettes, those only kill the individual, Americans need to ween themselves off of swallowing bullshit by the barrel full. As always thanks for commenting. This is after all, the only discussion we really have a part in. And you Walmart, I hope you pray every night someone like me does not find your deepest darkest secret. Traitors. BTW, Michelle, tell Barrack to bring back the jobs Bush sent elsewhere.

      Always,
      Phil

  6. says

    I am a surgeon, a member of the AMA, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and CEO of Peak Performance Foods. I created a healthier line of products to help fight obesity and related diseases, called Dr. Steve’s Pro Bites. We simply must consume healthier foods in our daily lives, as nutrition is the cornerstone of human health. Additionally, our food has undergone clinical trials for cancer patients, dialysis patients, diabetics, and patients with chronic, open wounds. All need increased protein to heal. We have no cholesterol or trans fat in our product. We are also gluten free. This is a positive first step, as education, awareness, and a frank discussion must take place before real change can occur. True health care reform does not take place as a result of a bill or some politician’s rhetoric; it takes place with all of us as individuals. We must demonstrate healthier lifesytles for ourselves, first, then spread it to our children and communities. We are now available at http://www.samsclub.com, as they are truly committed to offering healtheir products. As a nation, we must combat obesity and related diseases. Malnourishment, both over and under lead to increased medical/surgical complications, morbidity, mortality, and hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs.

    Steven L. Snodgrass, M.D., F.A.C.S.

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