Where Whole Foods was once the great supporter of small family brands like ours, Amazon’s takeover has forced us off of the healthy grocer’s shelves and into the unlikely arms of the world’s largest retailer, Walmart. Walmart’s recent shift of enthusiasm toward domestic and healthy food brands really appealed to us and gave us opportunity to sell our Original Meat and Veggie Bars™ at lower prices. It has been Zora's hope for a long time to get our Paleo bars out to a wider audience, so this felt like a match made in retail heaven.
Moving Away from Whole Foods
The shelves of Whole Foods have long been the aspiration of emerging brands like us. Historically, they have provided support for local companies seeking opportunity and exposure. When our meat and veggie bars first hit stores in the summer of 2015, the moment was surrounded by a celebratory air of, “we’ve made it.” Zora spent many hours in-store, providing demonstrations of our bars, which was both extremely fun for her and also provided us with valuable market research.
Wild Zora's entire awareness of the AIP diet and our commitment to providing AIP options began because of conversations Zora had with customers in Fort Collins Whole Foods. They were desperately seeking AIP snacks and meals that were nightshade free. Zora took that to heart and created new recipes for AIP bars, AIP meals, and now an AIP soup because of these valuable conversations.
But just four years later, we faced the tough decision to bear further increased demonstration fees and promotional costs, without which our products would be removed from Whole Foods’ shelves.
"I'm a business owner, so I completely understand that Whole Foods has to increase costs to make their business more profitable," Zora commented. "It is just sad that we won't be in their stores anymore, but the fees became completely unmanageable for our family business."
In 2017, Walmart announced its greater commitment to supporting local, small businesses while maintaining the same low prices for which they’re known. As new brands like ours have continued to appear on Walmart’s shelves in the last year, they are following through on their promise and providing more space for smaller, local and health-conscious products. Wild Zora’s Mediterranean Lamb and BBQ Beef bars joined Walmart’s “Healthy Alternatives” section on February 1st at the lowest retail price yet, alongside several other brands that we trust, including Purely Elizabeth, Udi’s and Canyon Bakehouse.
“My vision is to provide as many people as possible with healthy snacks made from organic fruits and veggies and responsibly-sourced meat. I’m really glad that working with Walmart gives us the opportunity to sell our food at a lower price so more people can enjoy them,” Zora commented.