Why Walmart Can’t Fix the Food System
Walmart is the biggest company in the United States and the country’s largest food retailer. Walmart is so big that it has an unprecedented amount of power in all sectors of the economy. Food is no exception. When there is one player this large connecting food producers and food consumers, consumers are no longer the food industry’s customers — Walmart is. And the saying “the customer is always right” has never been more appropriate.
Walmart is such a large customer that even large food processors cannot refuse any demands that Walmart makes upon them. The company’s model is based on practices that drive consolidation; take money away from farmers, workers and processors; and drive agriculture to get more industrialized.
Walmart’s business model is part of the problem, which means the company is not going to be a meaningful part of the solution to problems in the food supply. Instead of succumbing to Walmart’s public relations offensive and pressure to be allowed in new urban areas, all levels of government should look for other solutions to increase communities’ access to healthy food.
What started as a single discount store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 19622 has over the last 50 years morphed into the largest retailer in the world. Walmart is the biggest company in the United States and the country’s largest food retailer. Walmart is the world’s largest private employer, with 2.1 million employees, 1.4 million of whom are in the United States. Walmart has almost 4,000 (3,804) U.S. stores and over 4,500 (4,557) stores internationally in 14 countries.
This report advises local governments to seek better solutions to increase communities’ access to healthy food and encourages the federal government to investigate Walmart’s anticompetitive practices and its impact on the food chain—and adapt food and farm policy that strengthens regional food systems and food assistance programs that will provide healthy, affordable food to all communities. Read more.