Photo by Ashley Nickle

Walmart has begun to implement its new Produce 2.0 initiative, and the changes allow stores to offer competitive quality along with value, CEO Doug McMillon said at a conference this week.

Departments that have undergone the reset have lower-profile displays, wider aisles, new signage and organic sections. Those changes come on the heels of investments in recent years in better lighting, fixtures and other elements. Walmart has also made adjustments in its supply chain to improve freshness.

As a result, McMillon said, Walmart now has a produce offering that can stand up to those of its large competitors.

“We match up,” McMillon said, according to a transcript of his remarks at the Barclays Gaming, Lodging, Leisure, Restaurant & Food Retail Conference on Dec. 4. “I mean, I don’t want to have our team get comfortable ... We just have a lot of upside, but we have a really competitive quality offer and a great value in produce today. I’m excited about that.”

He noted that progress has built in recent years.

“In Walmart U.S. in particular, I’d give the team a lot of credit for doing what’s necessary to get us to this place,” McMillon said. “If they were here, they’d say, ‘Oh, we still have a lot of upside,’ and I agree with that, too. But the team has gotten into the detail as it relates to sourcing, how we handle product all the way (through the supply chain).

“And then at that last step or steps in the process, I think we were shorter on the number of hours we should have put into fresh to begin with, and I think (Greg Foran) and the team have resolved that,” McMillon said. “So you’re starting to see in-store execution and presentation improve. And Produce 2.0 is a different set of fixtures, a different presentation. And when you walk in the store, you can see the difference.”

McMillon described his first encounter with the Produce 2.0 treatment a memorable one.

“It looks like a fresh market,” McMillon said. “There’s a lot of color. It’s in your face. It feels aggressive from a merchandising point of view.”

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