Thursday, February 9, 2012

Great for You: Walmart's Healthy Eating Initiative

Here is news from MCC Partner Walmart about their new healthy eating initiative:

Dear Friend:
Last year, Walmart stood with First Lady Michelle Obama and showed how a company, working with its suppliers, the public sector and non-governmental organizations, can truly make a difference in people’s lives. Our healthier food initiative was designed to make food healthier and healthier food more affordable and the program was implemented in each of our 96 New York State Walmart stores.
Now, after pledging to develop a front-of-pack label that would give our customers an easier way to identify healthier food, we unveiled the “Great For You” icon at an event yesterday in Washington, D.C. The icon will initially appear on select Walmart Great Value and Market side items, as well as on fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables at our stores nationwide this spring.
According to the First Lady, yesterday’s announcement is “…yet another step toward ensuring that our kids are given the chance to grow up healthy.”
You can read more about the “Great for You” program here.
You’ll recall that our healthy food initiative includes several goals and over the past year, we have been working with private label brand and national brand suppliers to make progress. To date, some of the highlights include:
·         Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015: we have been working to reduce sodium and added sugars in 165 food items; some examples include:
ü  15 percent sodium reduction in Great Value ketchup;
ü  An average of 15 percent sodium reduction in Great Value canned vegetables;
ü  More than 70 percent sodium reduction in fresh steaks, roasts and other muscle cuts of beef;
·         Making healthier food choices more affordable: we surpassed this goal by helping customers save $1.1 billion in their cost of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, we’re reducing or eliminating the price premium on more than 350 better-for-you items, such as low-sodium lunch meat, reduced-fat peanut butter and fat-free salad dressing.
·         Providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores: last July, we said we’d open between 275 and 300 stores in areas serving food deserts by 2016. Since then, we’ve already opened 23 stores in these areas and anticipate opening between 50 to 60 more in 2012.
·         Increasing support for nutrition education programs: in the past year alone, we have provided more than $13 million in grants to nutrition education programs. Local organizations that have received funding include God’s Love We Deliver, New York City Department of Education Office of SchoolFood and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation “CookShop” program which teaches children how to prepare healthy meals. National examples include Share Our Strength, the National 4-H Council and Action for Healthy Kids, to name a few.
We believe we have a responsibility to respond to what our customers tell us they want and need. In the coming months and years, we will continue to work with our national and New York State partners and apply what we learn in our stores, in ways that make a real difference for our customers and their families.
If you have any questions about our healthy food initiative or yesterday’s announcement, please don’t hesitate to reply to this message.

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