Fresh Nature Foods

Ryan Davenport of Spokane-baed Fresh Nature talks the with host of “Washington Grown” television show in 2018 about the history of chickpeas and  the growing of fresh green chickpeas in the Pacific Northwest.

SPOKANE — Spokane-based Fresh Nature Foods is advancing to the next phase of a national competition to feature its products in Walmart and Sam's Club stores.

Fresh Nature Foods was among 850 businesses that pitched its products to Walmart buyers in 30-minute, one-on-one meetings Oct. 1 at the company's Open Call virtual event.

The family-owned agricultural company, which sells green chickpeas, hummus and pan-fried vegetable cakes, was among 175 businesses selected by Walmart buyers to move on to the next stage in the process to potentially land its products in stores and on Walmart.com.

"We've been fortunate to partner with great regional retailers across the country, but Walmart is really that first significant opportunity in the process to have a national footprint," said Ryan Davenport, Fresh Nature Foods president.

Businesses selected by Walmart will continue conversations with buyers after the Open Call event, Charles Crowson, Walmart spokesman, said in an email.

"Walmart wants to help small businesses succeed and during this next phase, the merchants coach them on several aspects of business with the goal of helping them become a successful supplier," Crowson said in the email. "Coaching includes a variety of operational topics that are unique to each supplier."

Other Washington companies advancing to the next phase in a partnership with Walmart include Bothell-based Terra Kai Organics and Erin Baker's Wholesome Bake Goods of Bellingham.

Fresh Nature Foods sells its products regionally at Yoke's Fresh Market, Rosauers Supermarkets, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons.

The Open Call event is part of Walmart's effort to support job creation and manufacturing through buying $250 million in U.S.-made products made by 2023.

More than 4,800 businesses nationwide applied for the chance to feature their products in Walmart stores via the Open Call event, a 44% increase in applications compared with last year.

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