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Walmart pledges to promote healthy foods

2 commentsBy Caroline Scott-Thomas , 21-Jan-2011
Last updated the 21-Jan-2011 at 11:43 GMT

Walmart has said it intends to reformulate its products to make them healthier and will push its suppliers to do the same, in support of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, the retailer said on Thursday.

The nation’s largest grocer said it intends to cut sugar, saturated fat, and sodium in thousands of products in its private label Great Value products, eliminate trans fat, and will also slash the prices of fruits and vegetables, following talks with the First Lady. Michelle Obama has taken aim at childhood obesity with her Let’s Move! campaign, which has the stated aim of ending the condition within a generation.

President and CEO of Walmart US Bill Simon said in a statement: “No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford. With more than 140 million customer visits each week, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a difference by making food healthier and more affordable to everyone.”

The company announced its intention to gradually cut sodium by a total of 25 percent, added sugars by 10 percent and to eliminate trans fats in its products by 2015 in an event attended by Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Walmart said it would save its customers about $1bn a year by lowering its fruit and vegetable prices, and added that it would “drastically reduce or eliminate” prices of ‘better for you’ versions of products, such as those that have reduced fat, sugar or sodium.

Executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Michael Jacobson welcomed the move. He said in a statement: “This announcement will virtually eliminate artificial trans fat in packaged foods and help spur food manufacturers to cut the sodium in their products over the next several years. Those two moves by Walmart ultimately should save thousands of lives each year that might otherwise be lost to heart disease or stroke.

In addition, the retail giant said it intends to build grocery stores in “underserved communities”, increase its charitable support of nutrition education programs, and develop a front-of-pack seal to “help consumers instantly identify truly healthier food options such as whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened canned fruit.”

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Better Health Lower Cost!

I am glad a large national chain store is starting a trend to help the public with healthier choices. Many families on food stamps have to buy the lowest cost products. It is great to see them cutting the salt, sugar and fats in their product line. Lots more poor families need access to produce and a slash in that cost is a big step for their health improvements also.

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Posted by Marguerite Blake
24 January 2011 | 18h43

Walmart supporting healthy foods

I highly commend Walmart's effort to support healthy food. Both Canada and the US have Health Care Systems that are crippled by too much disease. Almost 100% of Type 2 Diabetes can be eliminated through a healthy diet and proper exercise. I am so glad to see Michelle Obama behind this and I would be delighted if a Canadian celebrity would take a similar interest.

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Posted by Mike Smith
21 January 2011 | 18h49

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