Change is coming to a Walmart near you. Walmart has jumped on the let’s eat healthier bandwagon and recently unveiled the “Great For You” icon at an event in Washington, D.C. “Great For You” will initially appear on select Walmart Great Value and Marketside items, as well as on fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables at Walmart U.S. stores nationwide this spring.
I think this is a great move for Walmart. With the ever growing obesity issue, especially with our children, this is a great way to assist parents in making healthier choices for their families. The icon is supposed to serve as a guide to help people make incremental changes to their diet by encouraging more nutritious food choices. In this two-step process, Walmart is encouraging consumers to eat healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains and low-fat dairy. Step two limits the amount of total, trans and saturated fats, sodium and added sugars that can be found in items such as sweetened oatmeal, granola bars, flavored yogurt and frozen meals. These are all great ideas but I wonder if Walmart can take it one step further and include some healthy low fat recipes that include some of these items. I think many consumers can look at this list and think because they are healthy and low fat, low sodium that they may not taste as good. We all know how blah low sodium soup tastes don’t we. With some easy and quick recipes that parents can make with the kids it may help in getting the them to make healthier food choices and think differently about what they are putting in their mouths.
Items with the "Great For You" icon must meet rigorous nutrition criteria informed by the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM). Developed in consultation with food and nutrition experts from the public and private sectors as well as leading health organizations. This is great because it tells you that they are not just slapping an icon on your food labels and saying yea this is healthy.
Walmart’s initiative includes reformulating packaged food to reduce sodium and added sugars and eliminate industrially produced fats by 2015; making healthier food more affordable by providing savings on produce and reducing the price premium on better-for-you food items; developing solutions for food deserts; and increasing charitable support for nutrition education programs.
Here are a few other things that Walmart has been working on:
- Making healthier food choices more affordable - The company surpassed one of its key goals, helping customers save $1.1 billion by offering low prices on fruits and vegetables.
- Increasing support for nutrition education programs - Over the past year, Walmart and its Foundation have provided more than $13 million in grants to nutrition education programs.
- Providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores - As part of its commitment to provide solutions to food deserts, Walmart announced it would provide more than 1.3 million people living in more than 700 USDA designated food deserts with access to fresh and healthy food.
- Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015 - Walmart has been working to reduce sodium and added sugars in 165 food items.
These are all great things that Walmart is doing. Walmart moms are talking and Walmart sure looks like they are listening. To find out more about the “Great For You” icon and to view the video you can click here to read the press release.