Shift Online Prompts Walmart To Overhaul Grocery Options

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To better compete with Amazon, Walmart has decided to revamp its one of its most important lines of defense: the produce department.

With 95 percent of shoppers preferring to buy their produce in store, the department is an important one for retailers. German discount grocer Aldi has expanded its produce and organic offerings in recent years, and Kroger recently introduced a new slogan: “Fresh for Everyone.”

A few years ago, Walmart added more organic and locally grown foods, as well as redesigned the department and expanded its Fresh Guarantee. Now the company has announced Wednesday (Nov. 20) that it is renovating its produce areas once again in a project called Produce 2.0.

The department will now feature an “open market feel” that includes low-profile displays that allow customers to see the produce when they walk into the store, and enable customers to shop from multiple sides. In addition, the retailer will move all of its organic items into one area of the department, as well as widen the aisles and add more signs.

Online grocery shopping has “fundamentally changed the way we operate our food business within the store,” said Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food at Walmart’s U.S. business. “We’ve always got associates in the produce area. This layout created more space in the department to allow room for customers to shop.”

The renovation process has already started at more than 200 stores, and the company expects to complete it at most of its U.S. stores by next summer. Walmart has also lowered prices on its produce in recent years and worked to speed up its supply chain to extend how long fruits and vegetables can last on the shelves.

“One thing the customers were telling us is that, you know what, ‘We didn’t believe in your quality.’ We knew we had some work to do there,” Redfield told CNN.