BENTONVILLE, Ark. — More local fruits and vegetables will now be available at Wal-Mart to keep produce prices down and provide fresh and healthy selections.
The retailer reported partnerships with local farmers have grown by 50 percent over the past two years — one example of the company’s efforts to support local economies, cut shipping costs and provide fresh food offerings.
During summer months, locally sourced fruits and vegetables that are both grown and available for purchase within a state’s borders make up a fifth of the produce available in Wal-Mart stores.
“Offering local produce has been a Wal-Mart priority for years, and we’re taking it to a new level with a pledge to grow our partnerships with local farmers. We’re committed to purchasing locally grown produce whenever possible,” said Pam Kohn, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager for grocery.
“Increasing the amount of local produce in our grocery aisles — and adding clear locally grown signage — reflects our dedication to offer the freshest products possible at great prices.”
A complete list of locally grown produce available by state is at http://www.livebetterindex.com.
Wal-Mart estimates it purchases more than 70 percent of its produce from U.S.-based suppliers, making the company the biggest customer of American agriculture.
This year, Wal-Mart expects to source about $400 million in locally grown produce from farmers across the U.S.
Wal-Mart now highlights locally grown produce in its stores across the country. Customers will find it easy to recognize locally grown fruits and vegetables with signs that include official state-grown marks, indicating approval by their state’s agriculture department.
The company is also dedicating space on its Web site to locally grown produce, including farmer profiles and recipes. For more information, visit http://www.walmart.com/locallygrown.