Walmart may attract a lot of business as a one-stop shop, but that doesn't mean everything there is worth your time. Experts say it could be cheaper to buy some products at other stores, despite Walmart's generally low prices. And in some cases, it's a question of quality. According to a new customer survey, when put up against other retailers, Walmart turns out the worst quality for one item in particular. Read on to find out what product you may want to skip during your next Walmart shopping trip.
Customers say Walmart is the worst place to buy produce.
Mashed, a food-based news outlet, recently surveyed nearly 600 U.S. adults, looking to find out which grocery store has the worst-quality produce according to customers. The respondents were able to choose from eight different grocery stores: Aldi, Costco, H.E.B., Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Target, and Walmart. According to Mashed, the highest percentage of customers picked Walmart, with 33.39 percent saying they consider this retailer to have the lowest quality produce.
Walmart made major changes to its produce department in 2020.
Last year, Walmart launched a "refresh" of its produce department, according to a Nov. 2019 press release from the company. Charles Redfield, executive vice president of Walmart U.S. Food, said in a statement that the retailer had planned to update most of its U.S. stores by the summer of 2020 with the revamped produce sections.
"The changes we're making to our produce department will be great for our customers and associates, and we're excited to bring them to stores all around the country," Redfield said. But most of this revamp had to do with the overall design of the produce section, not the quality of the products. Changes included creating a more "open market feel," with more shopping space, low-profile displays, new signage, and wider aisles.
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It's been a few years since Walmart's produce quality was updated.
Redfield said that Walmart had "committed to a relentless focus on quality improvement and giving customers the best fresh produce possible" a few years ago in the 2019 press release. In 2014, the company entered the organic food market and since then, they've added more organic and locally grown foods, per Redfield. "We deepened our relationships with farmers—and by taking days out of the supply chain, we've been able to provide fresh produce that lasts longer at home," he said.
In a 2014 statement to Grist, Walmart said its main goal in entering the organic food market was to "deliver quality, organic groceries to [its] customers for less." But when The Simple Dollar compared the prices of organic produce between Walmart and Whole Foods, they found that Whole Foods' products were nearly the same price—and even sometimes lower—than Walmart's.
Target was ranked second in terms of worst produce.
Walmart and Target may be known for their wide range of products, but actual grocery shopping might need to be relegated to the retailers with a narrower focus on food. Target was the runner-up for worst quality produce in Mashed's survey, with 16.53 percent of customers claiming the store was a bad place to buy fresh fruits and veggies. According to Business Insider, Target had planned to install vertical farms inside its stores starting in 2017, but Mashed says it's not clear whether this ever panned out. In terms of the other stores surveyed, Aldi, H.E.B., Meijer, Costco, and Publix rounded out the list in order from worst to best.