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Wal-Mart launches food subscription service called Goodies

Bentonville, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday it will officially launch its previously announced food-by-mail subscription service, called Goodies, which allows customers to trial sample-sized foods for a monthly fee.

For $7 per month, participants get a box of five to eight hand-picked, sample-size food items, ranging from organic to ethnic products that are not currently carried on Wal-Mart's shelves. Wal-Mart, which first announced in May that its Walmart Labs division was researching the service, began testing the program in August and has to-date 3,000 subscribers.

Users sign up for the service at goodies.com. If they like the sample-size 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.

“People love to talk about new food products,” Ravi Raj, VP products at San Bruno, Calif.-based Walmart Labs, said.

Wal-Mart said it is also looking to use Goodies as a way to spot food trends in its stores. “Wal-Mart is the (world’s) largest grocer but there's room for us to innovate,” Raj said.

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