BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart's World Table may draw from international cuisines, but when developing the private label that emphasizes a distinct ingredient in each recipe, its creators took a much more local approach. Members of the Boulder-based Sterling-Rice Group shadowed Wal-Mart shoppers in their homes and at work.
“The idea is to spend time with consumers in the environment where they use products,” explained Mike Walters, managing partner of SRG. “By interacting with them in these situations we're able to gain insights from first hand observations rather than from a focus group or more contrived situation.”
Tasked with creating a compelling line that would jibe with Wal-Mart's core values, Walters and his team developed the concept, positioning and product development guidelines for World Table. It was everything Wal-Mart needed to internally create the 85-item line that draws from different cultures and cuisines.
Specifications included the ingredients that could be used to make each pizza, cookie, cracker, dip and chip unique, but still very approachable.
“We didn't create foods that people couldn't pronounce or anything that's too far out there,” Walters said. “The foods are familiar but also offer a unique or special taste experience.”
Take, for instance, World Table's “Taste of the Mediterranean” Hummus Snack Chips that are lightly salted and made with real garbanzo beans. Another example is World Table Roasted Salsa Verde offering “A Taste of Mexico” with tomatillos, fresh roasted jalapeno peppers and roasted tomato puree.
Regional fare such as “A Taste of the South” is represented in products like Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread Squares, while actual imports, such as Dutch Caramel Waffle Cookies from Holland, round out the offerings.
While the line adds a more premium dimension to Wal-Mart's corporate-brand program, World Table products are priced in line with Wal-Mart's other offerings.
“It isn't super-premium or overly expensive,” said Walters. “World Table brings a broader audience more worldly tastes because Wal-Mart brings it to them in a very affordable manner.”
Wal-Mart expanded distribution of the line to all of its U.S. supercenters after a pilot in the southeast. Earlier this year it brought World Table to Wal-Mart and Superama stores in Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela, Walters said.
The retailer is likely tailoring its selection to the tastes and preferences of local communities. But according to consumers who sought an outlet in the “I Love World Table” Facebook page, it may have gotten things wrong in the St. Louis market. Several fans of World Table Fiesta Barbecue Thin Crust Pizza implored Wal-Mart to bring the frozen specialty back to area stores.