Pamela Riemenschneider, editor of The Packer's sister publication Produce Merchandising, here.

Guest Blog: Wal-Mart's Marketside hits the shelves

I saw this at a Wal-Mart store in north Austin yesterday.  It’s a pack of Marketside-brand sugar snap peas. The store had entire line of this kind of bagged, fresh-cut produce that included:

  • Sugar snap peas
  • Snow peas
  • Green beans
  • French green beans
  • Cauliflower & Broccoli florets
  • Broccoli slaw

They were priced from $2 to $3.  What was interesting is that there were no corresponding national brands (i.e. Mann Packing, this case) to be seen anywhere in the cooler case. This post from Fresh & Easy Buzz talks about Marketside salsa. 

What do you think?  Where else will we see Marketside?
Jim Prevor over at the Perishable Pundit thinks that consumer won’t embrace private labels at Wal-Mart, from his Feb. 9 post:

“With regards to quality, there are indications that Wal-Mart executives are in a state of denial … They also believe that their Great Value label is equal to national brand quality.”

I’m going to have to disagree on that point.  This Marketside brand has very little in common in look or appearance of quality to Great Value. It feels upscale, it feels national and I doubt an everyday Jane shopper — like my mother-in-law, for example — knows the difference between it and the national brand it replaced.  

It’s scary stuff.