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Consumer Reports falls for Walmart’s organic scam

Basil leaves are way cheaper at Stop and Shop
Basil leaves are way cheaper at Stop and Shop

In the July 2014 issue of Consumer Reports, there is an article about Walmart’s press release about their new organic foods made by Wild Oats, and purported to be much cheaper than previous organic groceries. PBS also fell for their press release. This is somehow supposed to be good for consumers?

Gullible Consumer Reports fails to mention two important things:

  • Organic foods are not healthier or tastier and there is no reason to buy them.
  • Conventional foods are even cheaper

Organic foods are an invention of the organic marketing association, and they have been trying to scam you into buying them for years now. But careful tests have found that they are not more nutritious nor more healthy. In fact, the pesticides used on large organic farms are much more dangerous, and likely to be used much more often since they don’t work very well. And a recent in-depth report shows that the organic food industry knows they have been misleading customers for years.

And, after looking at the pesticide residues, carbon footprint and lower productivity, we concluded that there is no good reason to buy organic.

We took CU’s price data and compared the organic food “new low prices” with that of conventional foods purchased at Stop and Shop.

Walmart organic foods aren't so cheap

Food stuff | Walmart | S&S | % cheaper at S&S

Basil leaves | $42.24 | $22.33 | 47.14%
Cinnamon | $19.84 | $12.48 | 37.10%
Ketchup | $ 1.19 | $ 1.12 | 5.88%
Peanut butter*| $ 2.27 | $ 3.36 | -48.02%
Chicken broth*|$ 1.98 | $ 2.50 | -26.26%
Kidney beans |$ 0.94 | $ 0.96 | -2.13%
Red pepper |$ 17.19 | $ 9.00 | 47.64%
EV olive oil |$ 12.39 | $ 6.24 | 49.64%

* loss leader

Of the eight products, five conventional foods were significantly cheaper, one about the same, and in two cases, the organic products were actually cheaper than the conventional ones. In those two cases, the peanut butter and the chicken broth, the price was so low that it was clearly a loss leader, and cheaper even that Walmart’s conventional peanut butter and broth. This is rather intentionally misleading. (Since our local Stop and Shop didn't carry large containers of cayenne pepper, we used the price on Amazon.)

The other serious problem with recommending Walmart at all is how poorly they pay their employees. In fact, a substantial number of Walmart employees qualify for food stamps (now called SNAP) and Forbes estimates that Walmart workers cost taxpayers $6.2 billion in public assistance. So those low prices are actually adding to your tax bill. We also know that Walmart takes in over $13 billion in SNAP revenue from their employees and customers.

So it would seem to us that recommending organic groceries at Walmart is a double no-no. Organic foods cost more and are in no way “better,” and meanwhile Walmart workers are suffering from some of the industry lowest wages and collecting public assistance. This is reprehensible.

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