News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Tuesday 4th June 2013, 05:58 Central Time

Walmart introduces produce guarantee

Group aims to ensure quality and freshness of fruit and vegetables by launching guarantee and overseeing sourcing changes

Walmart introduces produce guarantee

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Walmart has announced that it is making new efforts to ensure the quality and freshness of its fresh fruit and vegetables, by rolling out a 100 per cent money-back guarantee for customers not satisfied with their produce, while also making changes to its produce sourcing, training and operations.

"We're listening to our customers and delivering on our promise to offer great produce at the most affordable price," said Jack Sinclair, executive vice-president of the food business for Walmart US. "We are so sure our customers will be pleased with the fruits and vegetables they buy in our stores, they can receive a full refund if they aren't completely happy."

The retailer is championing on three major initiatives, beginning with a focus on moving produce from farms to shelves faster by purchasing directly from growers and leveraging produce experts, distribution centres and trucking systems.

"To improve quality and freshness, Walmart has hired produce experts to work directly with farmers in the key growing regions where the company has produce-buying offices," the group explained. "Building long-term partnerships with farmers while having Walmart associates in the regions – and in the fields everyday – where produce is grown has made it possible for Walmart to select farmers who grow the best fruits and vegetables. As part of this programme, Walmart works closely with local growers in the U.S. to fulfill its commitment to double the company's sales of locally grown produce by December 2015."

The second part of the initiative will see the company execute independent weekly checks in its more than 3,400 stores across the US, ensuring that only the freshest fruits and vegetables are on the shelves and allowing Walmart to benchmark itself and its competitors week-on-week.

Finally, Walmart is launching Fresh Produce Schools, a training programme for 70,000 associates that will teach store managers, market managers and produce department managers about handling fresh produce.

"Empowering our associates with the tools to guarantee our produce quality is a critical component to our 100 per cent money-back guarantee," said Sinclair. "These efforts, combined with the weekly produce checks and operational changes, will ensure our customers bring home the freshest fruits and vegetables."

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