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I visited Walmart and saw more than 25 premium items you might not expect to find there

I visited Walmart and saw more than 25 premium items you might not expect to find there
Retail1 min read
I visited my local Walmart Supercenter to find which premium items the retailer now carries.Dominick Reuter/Business Insider
  • Walmart primarily focuses on delivering ultra-low prices, which sometimes means lower quality.
  • However, the retailer plans to stock more premium items to attract wealthier shoppers.

There's a reason "Save money" comes before "Live better" in Walmart's well-worn motto.

The Bentonville-based retail giant's primary focus since day one has been to drive down costs and offer rock-bottom prices. Before 2007, its motto was "Always low prices."

The strategy has served it well, even if there are sometimes necessary compromises regarding product quality.

But in recent years, the company has taken steps to shake the characterization of cheapness in favor of value, part of a larger push to attract higher-income shoppers with the sort of products and brands you'd see at Target or Whole Foods.

And now, with the announcement this week of its upscale Bettergoods private label grocery brand, Walmart is leaning more into the second half of its slogan.

Before the new products hit shelves, I visited my local Supercenter to see what premium items the retailer already carries.

Organic produce

Organic produce
Organic produce for sale at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Walmart is the biggest grocery retailer in the US, and the category represents 60% of the company's sales. Not only do they carry a full selection of produce, a lot of it is certified organic.

Naked juices

Naked juices
Naked juice for sale at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Naked juices can be found at many different stores, but wherever you find them, they aren't cheap. The per-ounce price is almost twice that of regular Tropicana orange juice.

Huge take-and-bake pizzas

Huge take-and-bake pizzas
Take and bake pizzas at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Some of Walmart's in-house brands are pretty eye-catching, like these extra large take-and-bake pizzas that have a pound of high-quality toppings.

Rana pastas

Rana pastas
Rana pastas at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

There have been stretches where my household will go through a pack or two of Rana a week. The freshness of the pasta enhances an otherwise basic dinner.

Lobster tails

Lobster tails
Lobster tail at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Sam's Choice brand is another private label offering from Walmart, which ranks on par with Costco's popular Kirkland Signature brand.

Cornish hens

Cornish hens
Cornish hens at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Any bird that's not a regular chicken or turkey counts as fancy in my book, since it likely requires some special preparation to get right.

Tazo, Kencko, and boba tea drinks

Tazo, Kencko, and boba tea drinks
Tazo and premium tea drinks at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

I haven't tried any of these drinks, but Tazo teas are usually a hit, and the others look appealing.

Newman's Own salad dressing

Newman
Newman's Own salad dressings at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Opinions may vary on whether Newman's Own counts as "fancy," but the products have a long-standing and well-earned reputation for quality.

Rao's pasta sauces

Rao
Newman's Own and Rao's pasta sauces at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Next to the Newman's Own pasta sauces are a broad selection of Rao's, which sell like mad at Costco. Rao's recipes are based on one of New York's most beloved restaurants. The sauce brand was acquired by Campbell's last year.

Boom Chicka Pop snacks

Boom Chicka Pop snacks
Boom Chicka Pop snacks at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

After rebranding from Angie's Kettle Corn, Boom Chicka Pop has exploded in popularity in the healthy snack category.

Spindrift, Waterloo, and Bubly seltzers

Spindrift, Waterloo, and Bubly seltzers
A variety of seltzer waters at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

There was a time when La Croix was the only sparkling water brand with interesting flavors. Now, a variety of brands have entered the market.

A plethora of water enhancers

A plethora of water enhancers
Water enhancers at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Water enhancers are another fast-growing product category, and Liquid IV is a popular one also sold at Costco and Target.

Organic kids' drinks

Organic kids
Organic kids' beverages at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Health-conscious parents on-the-go can also find organic juice and milk in single-serving portions.

A wall of olive oils

A wall of olive oils
A whole lot of olive oil options at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

I didn't take the time to inspect each offering on the wall of oil, but there was a surprising amount of variety where I would have expected to see maybe two or three choices.

Ben & Jerry's and Van Leeuwen ice creams

Ben & Jerry
Premium ice cream at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Yes, there are fancier ice creams than Ben & Jerry's, but they still rank as premium in my book. As for Van Leeuwen, the brand occasionally makes news for creating really odd flavors, like Ranch, that are sold exclusively at Walmart.

Impossible and Beyond plant-based meats

Impossible and Beyond plant-based meats
Organic plant-based meats at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Meatless Mondays are within reach with plenty of plant-based protein options in the frozen section.

Kerrygold and other premium butters

Kerrygold and other premium butters
Premium butter selections at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Like olive oil, a store's butter selection is a chance to shine, and once again, I was surprised to see four upscale butter brands next to the more conventional offerings.

Nutpods and Chobani coffee creamers

Nutpods and Chobani coffee creamers
Nutpods and Chobani coffee creamers at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Nutpods started as a home-based business before winning Amazon's small business of the year award. The plant-based coffee creamer is now in a wide range of grocery stores across the US.

Chobani and Noosa yogurts

Chobani and Noosa yogurts
Premium yogurts for sale at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

There were several upscale yogurt options, including Chobani and Noosa.

Gerber kid's clothes

Gerber kid
Gerber kids' clothes at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

As a parent of toddlers, I'd say Walmart does quite well when it comes to children's clothing. This offering from Gerber is made from a special viscose fiber, and Garanimals clothes hold up remarkably well to playground use.

Honest infant supplies

Honest infant supplies
Honest infant supplies at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Jessica Alba's Honest makes a point to keep unnecessary chemicals out of its health and beauty products.

A 70-inch 4K TV

A 70-inch 4K TV
A 70-inch 4K TV at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Walmart sells a lot of TVs, especially from its in-house tech brand Onn. As flat panel screens become increasingly similar, a 70-inch smart TV for less than $400 stands out.

Rtic coolers

Rtic coolers
An Rtic cooler at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Rtic is right up there with Yeti in the ultra-rugged cooler department. In other words, this is about as cold and tough as it gets.

Quip toothbrushes

Quip toothbrushes
Quip toothbrushes at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

From launching as a direct-to-consumer startup almost a decade ago, Quip is now offering its clever toothbrushes at major retailers like Walmart and Target.

Olly vitamins

Olly vitamins
Olly vitamins at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

These fancy gummy vitamins always catch my eye at Target.

Bare Republic mineral sunscreen

Bare Republic mineral sunscreen
Bare Republic mineral sunscreen at Walmart.      Dominick Reuter/Business Insider

Mineral sunscreen for $14 seems straight out of Whole Foods.

Coming soon: Bettergoods

Coming soon: Bettergoods
Walmart's new Bettergoods grocery brand.      Walmart

Of course, the big grocery news this week is the Bettergoods brand, which takes a few cues from competitors like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Target. Walmart says it has over 300 items arriving this year, with most costing less than $5.

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