By Alex Rindler, EWG Government Affairs Associate
With First Lady Michelle Obama in attendance, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, announced (Jan. 20) that it is launching a five-year plan to provide its customers with healthier and more affordable food choices.
In addition to lowering its prices on fruits and vegetables, the company pledged to reduce the amount of trans fats, added sugars and sodium in thousands of packaged foods sold under its house brand, Great Value, including frozen entrées, lunchmeats, salad dressings, potato chips and fruit drinks. Walmart will also wield its enormous market power to press its major supplies to take similar steps, the company said,
The initiative builds on the recent successes of the First Lady's Let's Move campaign to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy eating. Just last month, President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a $4.5 billion measure to expand child nutrition programs and improve the quality of school meals nationwide.
Wal-Mart also plans to address the problem of "food deserts" by building more stores in areas that lack easy access to fresh produce and increasing its charitable contributions to nutrition programs.
The company's commitment lends major new momentum to efforts to meet the growing demand for better food. As the nation confronts long-term health and nutrition challenges, EWG encourages other industry leaders to take similar initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans.