Wal-Mart announced Thursday a five-year plan to promote healthier foods in stores across the country. Their plan includes lowering the price on fruits and vegetables, reducing the amount of salts, fats and sugars in thousands of house brand products, and opening stores in ‘food deserts’ — urban areas with little access to healthy food options.
A number of studies have shown a correlation between low-income level and obesity as healthy food tends to be more expensive and less available in low-income areas. Wal-Mart intends to address this issue by making healthier food more affordable and accessible, especially in urban areas that are underserved. As the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart sells more groceries than any other company in the U.S.
Wal-Mart has committed to reduce sodium by 25 percent, eliminate added trans fat and reduce sugars by 10 percent by 2015, according to a New York Times report. Other companies, such as ConAgra Foods, have also made similar recent plans to make healthier changes.
Michelle Obama was involved in discussions with Wal-Mart prior to their decision. As the first lady in a country with the highest number of obese people, she has made healthy eating and fighting childhood obestiy an important priority in her agenda.