- Walmart has put out a call for applications for its sixth annual Open Call event, according to a company press release. The event invites entrepreneurs to pitch products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. for the opportunity to secure a deal for placement in Walmart and Sam's Club stores and on Walmart.com.
- At last year's Open Call, more than 350 companies from 46 states pitched products at nearly 600 meetings, resulting in new products from multiple categories including food, cosmetics, toys and apparel.
- The annual event supports Walmart's pledge to buy $250 billion in American-made products by 2023.
Based on last year's winning product lineup, food and grocery are well represented at Walmart's Open Call. Walmart picked up an array of products in 2018 including Ahssa Foods low-fat gourmet sauces, Mame’s Burrito Company’s organic breakfast burritos, The Perfect Granola’s naturally sweetened granola bars and JustinTimeSnacks, which recently launched its Homeplate Pizza at Walmart in Missouri.
Consumers want the latest and most innovative products at reasonable prices, and it can be challenging for retailers to stock their shelves with the freshest concepts and offerings. Finding small startups and emerging innovations can be difficult for a retailer the size of Walmart, and open-call events are an effective way to keep tabs on what consumers want and secure an exclusive on promising new offerings.
The effort also reminds shoppers that Walmart supports locally sourced, U.S. made products and wants to encourage small business and entrepreneurship in spite of its large corporate presence.
Getting picked up by the largest retailer in the world can be a game changer for small brands. Justin Mark of JustinTimeSnacks said in a press release that the Walmart deal has allowed his company to expand to a 5,000 square-foot manufacturing facility for increased production.
H-E-B is also well-known for its efforts to discover emerging products and spotlight local product innovations. Its annual "H-E-B Quest for Texas Best" is back for 2019, with the retailer set to host its open call for locally owned food and beverage producers and suppliers for the chance to end up in H-E-B stores.