The Scoop: Walmart rolls out new premium food brand

Plus: Domino’s encourages more tipping, and how one misinformation post spread to millions.

When you think of Walmart, a few images might come to mind. Huge, warehouse-like expanses of aisles, bulk food that form a staple of any college student’s dorm room stash. But if Walmart gets its way, its customers will be talking about its food selections in the same vein as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

The new brand took years to develop and will include foods such as cardamom rose raspberry jam for $5.24 and curry chicken empanadas. Walmart plans to add more than 300 Bettergoods items to shelves this year—many of which will cost $5 or less.

“We didn’t always show up for customers that were looking for this range,” said John Laney, head of grocery for Walmart U.S. The new line features more adventurous flavors and health call-outs.

While Walmart already owns one of the largest food brands in the country, Great Value, it realized during the height of the pandemic that a change was needed to compete with rival food sellers. With more and more people looking for more adventurous flavors and healthier options, Walmart faced a pivot point.

Why it matters: Walmart’s reimagining of its food offerings could stem from a few places, but it appears a major aim of the retailer is to appeal to higher-income customers shopping in its stores due to high prices. With this new customer base, Walmart needed to respond with new offerings to keep them coming back.

Even if you’re a well-established brand that’s mainly known for low price points, a rethink still might help. It remains to be seen whether or not customers will latch on to the Walmart branded items like they do the ones from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but that’s where smart marketing comes in.

Maybe a social media campaign can help put these new food items in the viral discussion in the months ahead. However Walmart chooses to position these choices, it’s clear that the big box retailer doesn’t want to be penned in by labels and is aiming to stake a claim to the elevated grocery space. Sometimes taking a swing in a new direction can help change your reputation in the public forum.

Editor’s Top Reads:

  • Regardless of how you feel about American tipping culture, it’s undeniably an integral part of the buying experience in this country. But even with all the think pieces about how tipping culture has gotten out of control, Domino’s is taking things in the opposite direction and encouraging even more tipping of its delivery drivers by offering a benefit for customers. According to CNN, the pizza chain is running a campaign called “You Tip, We Tip”, in which customers who tip $3 or more are awarded $3 off their next Domino’s purchase. Not only does the campaign help reframe the debate on tipping, it also gives customers a benefit for their tips. Capitalizing on discussions of the day is a great way to insert your business into the news cycle and even potentially increase business. It could also help Dominos on the recruitment and retention front by making it a more appealing place for drivers to work.
  • It’s truly remarkable how one piece of misinformation can turn into a wildfire of media coverage. According to NBC News, it took just days for a post on X falsely claiming that migrants were registering to vote in American elections to reach 125 million people. It’s easy for misinformation to spread out of control, and this post is a great example of that in action. Have your team ready to act on any false statements involving your organization, leadership, or key issues and move fast to counter them.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration took a material step towards reclassifying cannabis as a lower-tier drug. According to the Associated Press, the proposal aims to move the drug to a less tightly regulated Schedule III drug, rather than a top-tier Schedule I drug. The rescheduling of cannabis could have major implications on business, including how the drug is researched medically. That could change the conversation around the medicinal uses of cannabis and usher in big changes in marketing, PR and even banking. The conversation around cannabis could change in a major way very soon and a variety of industries should be ready.

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports and hosting trivia.


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