Products that qualify for the new logo, dubbed “Great For You”, must meet certain nutrition standards, which Walmart says are informed by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as the latest nutrition science from government agencies, including the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture.
Whether products qualify for the logo is decided by a two-step process. First, the scheme considers food components to encourage, such as fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds and lean meats. Walmart said these items would include brown rice, 1% milk, raw almonds and 93% lean ground beef.
If a product qualifies under the first step, the scheme then considers the amount of total, trans and saturated fats in the product, sodium, and added sugars.
Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart, said: "Last year we stood with the First Lady and showed how Walmart, working with its suppliers, the public sector and non-governmental organizations, can truly make a difference in people's lives.
“We are proud to announce that after a year of working with nutrition stakeholders, meaningful progress is being made. We have the opportunity to address an issue many feel is too complicated or too hard to tackle and to demonstrate that it doesn't have to be."
Extending the scheme to include fruits and vegetables sets the logo apart from many others that apply mainly to packaged foods, and the scheme differs in other ways too. The IOM’s proposed front-of-pack program, for example, seeks to highlight calories and to rank foods solely on nutrients to discourage, with foods being given zero to three nutritional points.
And the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has collaborated with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to develop their Facts Up Front program. The GMA/FMI logo highlights calories and nutrients to discourage, including saturated fat, sugar and sodium, but also allows companies to flag up two ‘nutrients to encourage’.
Walmart has said that its new scheme could appear alongside the GMA/FMI Facts Up Front and other industry-backed labels, and will be made available to makers of branded foods that qualify under its nutritional standards.
Click here for more information on the scheme’s nutrition criteria, and a list of qualifying products.