Business Strategies / R&D / Wellness Foods

Yet Another Walmart Initiative: Affordable, Healthy Food


Jan 21, 2011

Walmart Stores Inc. on Jan. 20 unveiled a five-point initiative to improve Americans' nutrition, including stocking foods with fewer negative ingredients and lowering the prices of healthier foods.

The effort, of course, will place a lot of pressure on food processors to cooperate. Walmart's five points:

  1. Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015 by reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars 10 percent and by removing all remaining industrially produced trans fats. The company will work with suppliers to improve the nutritional quality of national brands and its Great Value private brand in key product categories.
  2. Making healthier choices more affordable, saving customers approximately $1 billion per year on fresh fruits and vegetables through a variety of sourcing, pricing, and transportation and logistics initiatives that will drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain. Walmart will also dramatically reduce or eliminate the price premium on key "better-for-you" items, such as reduced sodium, sugar or fat products.
  3. Developing criteria for a simple front-of-package seal that will help consumers instantly identify truly healthier food options such as whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened canned fruit.
  4. Providing solutions to address "food deserts" by building stores in underserved communities that are in need of fresh and affordable groceries.
  5. Increasing charitable support for nutrition programs that help educate consumers about healthier food solutions and choices.

"No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford," said Bill Simon, president/CEO of Walmart U.S. The company was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama at the Washington event.

The reformulation initiative includes three components:

  • Reduce sodium by 25 percent in a broad category of grocery items, including grain products, luncheon meats, salad dressings and frozen entrees.
  • Reduce added sugars by 10 percent in dairy items, sauces and fruit drinks.
  • Remove all remaining industrially produced trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats and oils) in all packaged food products.
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