Wal-Mart launches online food subscription

A baby was born inside a Walkill Walmart,

A baby was born inside a Walkill Walmart, the world's largest retailer (July 20, 2012). (Credit: AP)

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday launched a mail subscription service, called Goodies, that lets shoppers discover new foods from the comfort of their homes.

For a monthly fee of $7 that includes tax and shipping, customers get a box of five to eight hand-picked, sample-size food items, ranging from organic to ethnic products that are not currently carried in Wal-Mart stores. The world's largest retailer began testing the service three months ago and so far has 3,000 subscribers. For November, items include pumpkin soufflé mix, white Cheddar popcorn and dark chocolate-infused Quinoa bars.

It works like this: users can sign up for the service at goodies.co. The monthly price is almost half of the total value of the items if they were purchased separately, according to Wal-Mart. If customers like the products, they can purchase full-size versions on the Goodies Co. website. Goodies has also created a social community online where subscribers can post reviews to earn loyalty points. The points can be redeemed in the future for items in the store.

Ravi Raj, vice president of products at California-based Walmart Labs, the chain's research division, said it wanted to start a subscription service for food because it is "inherently very social."

"People love to talk about new food products," Raj said.

Wal-Mart, the world's largest food retailer, is also looking to use Goodies as a way to spot food trends in its stores.

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