US investor Ron Burkle acquired Wild Oats brand after it was sold by Whole Foods Market

US investor Ron Burkle acquired Wild Oats brand after it was sold by Whole Foods Market

Wal-Mart has announced a notable push into the US organic food category with plans to list a range of products under the recently-revived Wild Oats brand.

The US retail giant said it would sell almost 100 lines under three sub-brands - Wild Oats Marketplace, Wild Oats Marketplace Organic and Wild Oats Marketplace Originals. The organic items account for "nearly 90% of the Wild Oats offering", Wal-Mart said.

The retailer said the move was made to provide "more affordable" organic products to US consumers. The products would "save customers 25% or more" on organic groceries.

"We know our customers are interested in purchasing organic products and, traditionally, those customers have had to pay more," Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of grocery for Walmart US, said. "We are changing that and creating a new price position for organic groceries that increases access. This is part of our ongoing effort to use our scale to deliver quality, affordable groceries to our customers."

Wild Oats was the name of a US natural and organic grocer that Whole Foods Market acquired for US$565m in 2007. Whole Foods sold the Wild Oats name, which is now owned by US billionaire investor Ron Burkle.

Wild Oats products are on sale in Fresh & Easy stores on the West Coast of the US after Burkle's deal to take on the bulk of that chain from Tesco last year.

Tom Casey, CEO of Wild Oats, said: "By partnering with Wal-Mart, Wild Oats is starting a movement that makes it easier than ever for customers to access affordable organic and natural products. "Our availability at Wal-Mart will allow us to finally pass along scalable savings directly to consumers. We are reinvigorating our brand by bringing great tasting Wild Oats products to more customers than ever before."