Walmart To Offer Foods with Less Sodium, Sugar and Trans Fat
Walmart, America’s largest grocer, has announced it will work with its food suppliers to make their packaged foods healthier by reducing sodium by 25 percent and added sugar by 10 percent, and virtually eliminating trans fat. The expected changes will not happen overnight, however, as the bargain retailer is setting 2015 as its goal date.
Walmart will make produce more affordable too
Stating that “No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,” Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart US, unveiled the company’s five-point plan to help customers have access to healthier and more affordable food choices. The five elements include:
- Reducing sodium by 25 percent and added sugar by 10 percent, and removing trans fats from thousands of packaged foods in the company’s Great Value private brand and collaborating with suppliers to reformulate national brands within the same categories by 2015
- Making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable by reducing unnecessary costs out of the supply chain
- Making it easier for consumer to identify truly healthier food options using a simple front-of-package seal
- Building stores in communities that are currently underserved and in need of fresh, affordable food
- Increasing their support for charitable nutrition programs
The move announced today in Washington, DC, by Walmart was praised by Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest. Jacobson stated that “I applaud Walmart for using its marketplace muscle to move the food industry in a healthier direction.”
Jacobson went on to say that he hopes Walmart’s actions will prompt the Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture to “pull the plug on partially hydrogenated oil and set reasonable limits on sodium levels in different categories of packaged foods.”
Simon also noted that Walmart is “committed to working collaboratively and in partnership with our suppliers in order to make this initiative a success.” He pointed out that some suppliers are already taking steps to produce healthier food.
This move by Walmart to offer consumers foods that are lower in sodium and sugar and without trans fat comes at a time when diet-related health problems are an epidemic in the United States, including overweight and obesity, heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes, and hypertension, among others.
Center for Science in the Public Interest