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Wal-Mart Plans to Promote Healthy Food

Wal-Mart Plans to Promote Healthy Food

In response to Michelle Obama’s vigorous campaign against childhood obesity, Wal-Mart announced that it will drop prices on fruits and vegetables and make thousands of its packaged items lower in fat, sodium and sugar.  This is the first time that Obama has put her support behind the work of one company.

Wal-Mart’s focus is on its house brand, Great Value, but the company also says that it will press its major suppliers, like Kraft, to emphasize health in the same way.  The changes will be introduced over a period of five years, which Wal-Mart says will give its consumers time to get used to the changes.  The slowness of the timeline has been criticized, however, by organizations like the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  The executive director said that he wished the timeline were speedier, and added that the sugar reductions could be “much more aggressive.”

The company says that it will also try to address so-called “food deserts” – a name for the lack of grocery stores selling fresh produce and fruits in urban areas like Anacostia in Washington, DC.  And apparently, if the project is successful, Americans who shop at Wal-Mart could save up to $1 billion per year on fruits and vegetables alone.

That seems like the most important step to me – although it’s important to cut down on sugars, sodium, and other harmful elements of packaged foods, people need to have access to affordable fruits and vegetables in addition to making packaged food healthier.  It will be interesting to see how successful Wal-Mart’s attempts are – it’s heartening to see that Michelle Obama’s program will result in healthier food options for more Americans, but it will take time to see whether these changes have a serious impact.  And it’s also important to remember that whatever changes happen must be environmentally sustainable.

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143 comments

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12:45AM PST on Jan 30, 2011

It's a game of supply and demand. If people aren't demanding the healthier foods, they're not going to make or stock the healthier stuff.

I was disappointed in Walmart, because they stopped carrying the Ichiban brand Ramen noodles. They also only have the medium-hot curry package, and I like the hot. Now if I want these things, I have to go to a different city to buy these.

Anyway, it's not just healthy, its quality also. If the meat is lean, fine, but when it's injected w/ solution & dyed to look fresh, it's not what I'm looking for in quality. I don't want to sacrifice that for quantity. That's just greedy and just as unhealthy.

9:52AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

Profit margin on a supermarket is about 4.8%. Margins in a mom & pop can't me much higher.(5.9%) But I am sure there costs are, since a mom & pop have a problem with economies of scale!
Oddly cost of sales are about the same. Labor is significantly higher in the big box supermarket.

http://www.bizstats.com/industry-financials.php

8:06AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

"If the president's wife wants to make a change in the food we eat today, they should cut out processed foods, MSG, ... and genetically-modified foods, which they happen to be pushing through, using "us" as guinea pigs (Kraft Foods is one of them)."

Sorry Sarah, but this is nowhere near the responsibility of Government! It is bad enough what they already do.
Why go through all this grief? Why not just have the Government, since you are so desirous of having others decide for you, turn all of our nutritional requirements into a pill for you to take? Then you won't have to worry about food at all. The ultimate in green living! Look at all the energy that could be saved not having to grow food stuffs, transport them, cook, or dispose of the refuse. No restaurants using energy, creating waste.
But then look at the number of people you put out of work!
The rules already in place have made some of the best "stuff" no where near as much fun as it used to be. Movie popcorn for one! French fries for another!

6:28AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

great news .all other stores should join them

6:25AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

great news,all stores should join them

5:45AM PST on Jan 26, 2011

All stores should be doing this. Our store where I live is outrageous and everybody goes out to town to get groceries it is that high. I can't afford to eat right from our local store. too much dam greed!

Looking forward to summer for a garden this year.

8:57PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

In my town, Duncan, public transit is not a issue of the size of the town at all, but rather the corruption and the $ situation of the public transit system. Unfortunately, tho we have changed mayors several times, the situation has not improved. To go grocery shopping without a ride requires a mile walk for me to catch the bus, a 3/4 mile one zone ride, followed by another 10-minute walk to the actual store. The real pain in the @$$ is the mile walk back with groceries, up 11 blocks of very steep hill. I'm 45 and pretty able-bodied. But in this community, which is large and fairly affluent, there is also a disproportionate amount of elderly and quite a few handicapped. The mom and pop stores, with the exception of hardware, were driven out of here in the 70's. With the arrival in November 2010 of Ace Hardware, I expect the two mom and pop hardwares to he gone soon, as well. As for "the next town", the example I have cited was traveling between 3 towns. Choice in personal commerce is made or broken by ease of transportation, among other things. Your comment about negation is rather silly; IF I am guilty of being unscientific, you are guilty of generalization. However, I will not continue to play last word with you. Namaste.

6:12PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

interesting thats for sure... thanks for the article!

4:04PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

How did Walmart become a spokesccompany for food at all? We have grocery stores. Walmart wants to take over the world and be the only store that survives and it probably eventually will be, and that is a monopoly and we don't need it. They have a McDonald's in every bloody store I see anyway, so how is that promoting healthy food? If the president's wife wants to make a change in the food we eat today, they should cut out processed foods, MSG, make labels clear as to what we are eating (not "natural flavours", "spices", etc.) , and genetically-modified foods, which they happen to be pushing through, using "us" as guinea pigs (Kraft Foods is one of them).

9:39PM PST on Jan 24, 2011

"Odd left a comment on the following article:

Wal-Mart Plans to Promote Healthy Food"

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