Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wal-Mart to offer healthier food

A story in today's New York Times says Wal-Mart plans to cut down on sugar, fat and sodium in its food offerings over the next five years, and to pressure other suppliers to do the same. The mega-retailer also plans to announce Thursday that it will sell fresh fruits and vegetables more cheaply - cutting into its own profits but making up for the loss in sales volume.

The move is expected to have a major impact on American eating habits. Wal-Mart is the country's biggest grocery retailer, and last year surpassed Harris Teeter to become the Charlotte region's top grocer.

Company officials say Wal-Mart's initiative is the product of numerous discussions with Michelle Obama, who has made reducing childhood obesity a priority. But Wal-Mart has faced six quarters of declining sales at its stores open for more than a year (while still posting a profit). The company also faces competition from low-cost stores such as Family Dollar, which is expanding its consumable selections, and mega-retailer Target, which is seeking to increase its same-store sales by adding more fresh produce to hundreds of stores, including all those in the Charlotte region.

What do you think is behind Wal-Mart's initiative, and do you think the program will have a positive effect on America's health?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this but I think that many folks who shop at Walmart will continue to acquire "junk type" food, unless Walmart can make this transition without appearing to become too "elitist". Walmart shoppers will not give up their high sodium ,fat, and worthless calories that easily.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, its not just Wal-Mart, otherwise the Dollar Menu at fast food joints wouldn't be so popular.

Anonymous said...

I've gotta agree with the first commenter - there is more to a healthier food platform than just the provider - its all about the consumer's eating habits, which knowing the unfortunate demographic of WalMart shoppers, is considerably unhealthy.

Granted, I'm generalizing a bit when I say that, but, there's more here to make a healthier society than just WalMart cutting out sodium.

That all being said - good for WalMart!

Amanda said...

I think this is great news. I am currently a Walmart shopper but have begun to shop else where due to the lack of health foods other than produce.

I would love to buy all of my groceries at one place, so the more health varieties the better.

Walmart shopping is not just for the low income consumer, it's for all consumers who want to save money. If you think otherwise, why not check out the new Indian Land Walmart. You will find probably cars more expensive than your own in the parking lot.

I think I speak for all when I say health should become one of our countries top priorities.

J said...

How nice of the first 3 commenters to grab the broad brush and paint all Wal-Mart shoppers as fat, lazy pigs. My family shops Wal-Mart, because it makes no sense to us to pay $4 for a loaf of bread at Harris Teeter when you can get the exact same loaf at Wal-Mart for $2.75. In addition, I have been on a Medeteranian-style eating plan for a few months, and we're doing OK with getting the appropriate foods at Wal-Mart. That being said, hearing that more healthy foods are coming to Wal-Mart will make our shopping even easier.

As for what is driving the change, it's all about money. They don't want to loose too much market share to places like Earth Fare and Trader Joe's. And there's nothing wrong with that. The fact that they are making a change that would better their bottom line as well as our waistlines is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

LOL-walmart bashers, like you can't get frozen pizza's , potato chips, cookies,candy, sodas,basically all processed foods at Harris Teeter. And just because it came from Trader Joe's doesn't automatically mean it's healthy.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

chinese vegetables.


oh yeah

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 7:36:

Obesity rate in the US: ~27%

Obesity rate in China: < 5%

Chinese vegetables FTW

Tonioaks said...

Never get a pre-wrapped deli sandwich from Wally World unless you want to go on a "too much salt" high. The sandwiches are so salty, you can't even taste like meat or the cheese. I tried their turkey and cheese sandwich twice. NEVER again. We eat a lot of organic stuff. I'm sure that Walmart has been watching the trends. This is about money but that is ok too. Competition breeds change. I like it!