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Walmart launches major health initiative

At a news conference the company unveils its plan to make food healthier and more affordable


Washington, D.C. – Walmart has unveiled its latest effort to make healthier food, and make it more affordable.

The company released the news at a conference in Washington, D.C. Joining the company was First Lady Michelle Obama, who said the move has the potential to transform the marketplace.

Walmart announced five key elements to its new program. Those elements are:

• Reformulating thousands of packaged food items by 2015, including reducing sodium by 25 per cent and added sugars by 10 per cent, and by removing all remaining trans fats. The company says it will work with suppliers to improve the nutritional quality of national food brands and its Great Value private brand in key product categories to complete the reformulations;

• Making healthier choices more affordable, saving customers approximately US$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 says it will also reduce or eliminate the price premium on key “better-for-you” items, such as reduced sodium, sugar or fat products;

• Developing criteria for a simple front-of-package seal that will help consumers instantly identify healthier food options such as whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened canned fruit;

• Building stores in underserved communities that are in need of fresh and affordable groceries; and

• Increasing charitable support for nutrition programs that help educate consumers about healthier food solutions and choices.

Walmart says its program builds on the success of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign.

Photograph by: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, xx