Our U.S. trucks log millions of miles every year, delivering products to our more than 4,800 locations across the country. So when it comes to sustainability and fleet efficiency, the goal is simple: deliver more while driving fewer miles. This goal is the driving principle behind our commitment to double fleet efficiency by 2015 (compared to 2005). We’re already 80% of the way there. Since 2007, we’ve delivered 658 million more cases while driving 298 million fewer miles.
But the key to continued improvement is through technology. We need to use the most efficient equipment available – and we need to pursue and test the technologies of tomorrow. That’s why we’ve been working with our suppliers to pilot new and emerging technologies for about 20 years. These tests have included a number of prototypes: hybrid assist, wheel-end hybrid assist, full propulsion hybrid, natural gas (LNG and CNG) and waste grease.
In Canada, our Supercube trailer pilot has just entered its second test phase after proving that it can ship up to 40% more merchandise than conventional tractor-trailer combinations, reducing costs by 24% and greenhouse gas emissions by 14%.
The latest example of this is our new Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck, which is the result of collaboration between many vendor partners, including Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine. The truck combines aerodynamic, mictroturbine-hybrid powertrain, electrification, and advanced control systems all in one vehicle.
Like the concept cars you see at auto shows, this prototype will evolve before it’s ready for the road. But it’s exciting to think about how any one of the new features might become an industry standard in the future. The important thing is that we find incremental improvements while also challenging ourselves to look at fleet efficiency in new and different ways.
When I moved from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, S.C., five years
ago, it marked a new beginning for me. I was stepping away from 20 years in the
insurance business, into a warmer climate and yearning to return to my culinary
When I was growing up, my family owned a food processing
plant. I was running a restaurant up north by the time I was 19. I’ve always
been curious about flavors and what’s out there. Whenever I travel, I’m that
guy who only eats local cuisine. And
when I began digging into my new surroundings, I discovered the history of
gumbo in the U.S. – which people naturally associate with Louisiana – can actually
be traced back to South Carolina in the 1600s.
The first recipe I developed when I set foot in Myrtle Beach
was my own gumbo. There were so many beautiful ingredients down here – fresh
shrimp, whitefish, Andouille sausage, okra – and when I dipped my spoon into
that first bowl, I had a moment. I thought, “This is it. I’ve really got
I knew this was a recipe that would make South Carolina
proud. My gumbo immediately started winning people over at local farmers
markets and festivals. I looked into opportunities to get my product on the
market, from selling to local restaurants to partnering with a delivery service
in the area. But the day the district manager at our local Walmart gave me 15
minutes of his time – that was the day everything changed.
That was Dec. 17, 2013. When I walked out 45 minutes later,
it was with the understanding we had a deal. By May 2015, my Carolina Gumbaya was being sold in
the frozen section of 17 Walmart stores in South Carolina. Today, that’s grown
to 137 Walmart stores in five states, including Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
It really has been an amazing experience, to see so many
people embrace this recipe I created in the kitchen of my own home. But when
people ask me if it has taken me by surprise, I have to tell them, “Honestly,
Frozen food has come a long way in recent years. Carolina Gumbaya – a name drawn
from the words gumbo and jambalaya – isn’t packed with fillers and
preservatives. The label doesn’t have words you can’t pronounce. There are 12
whole, wild-caught shrimp in every one-quart container. And the blonde roux I developed,
along with my secret spices, are a few of the differentiating factors.
Turn on any food channel or open a food publication and
you’re going to hear about the flavor of the South. It’s the South’s time to
shine on the culinary stage – so products like mine have an opportunity to
spread across the country. Along the way, Walmart’s commitment to domestic
manufacturing is opening the door for small entrepreneurs like my business
partner, Laura Spencer, and me. Products like Carolina Gumbaya are helping
create jobs at growing U.S.-based companies like Duke Food Productions, the
company who helps produce our product. These kinds of stories are a win-win for
everyone. And we’re just getting started.
Sr. Director – Private Brand Food Initiatives, Walmart
February 04, 2016
Big change is coming to the grocery aisles.
The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration has mandated that partially hydrogenated oils – most
commonly found in industrially produced fats and oils – be
eliminated as a food ingredient by June 2018. Research clearly shows a link
between trans fats and cardiovascular disease. So a timetable has been set to
A big reason why I work for Walmart is that we’re constantly
looking for ways we can help people live better – oftentimes, before federal mandates
like these are handed down. In fact, by the end of this month, we anticipate having
successfully removed all partially hydrogenated oils from Walmart private brand
food – such as Great
Value – sold in our U.S. stores, a goal
we’ve been working toward since 2011. But we’re not stopping there.
Simultaneously, we’ve been working to reduce sodium in
Walmart’s private brand foods and national brand food products by 25% and added
sugars by 10% by the end of December 2015. We’ve long since surpassed our
sugar-related reformulation goal. And, while we’re tracking about 5% behind our
sodium reduction goal – results through December 2015 are being vetted and will
be announced publicly this spring – we continue to work toward completion and
are proud of the precedent we're setting across the grocery industry.
There have been some big wins along the way to help us move
the needle. One example was when we set out to reduce sodium in all varieties
of Great Value Potato Chips and Great Value Kettle Cooked Chips. We
successfully removed a combined 30 tons of sodium from 36 million bags of chips
annually. And, according to test data, we did so without compromising taste. To
put that into perspective, 30 tons is equivalent to an entire Walmart truck
(cab and trailer) or about 70 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
In the end, every slice of progress in the reformulation of
the thousands of private and national brand food items Walmart sells
contributes to a healthier tomorrow for our customers. But the reality is, you
can’t simply go out and turn the dial down on sodium, sugar and trans fats and
say, ‘We’re there. We did it.’ Our palates are accustomed to certain tastes, so
the key is taking small, incremental steps toward long-term change. You're
basically giving consumers’ palates a chance to adjust rather than shocking
them all at once.
Every step forward involves extensive time, testing,
evaluation and more. Many of the wins we’re realizing today are several years
in the making – and, in most cases, there was no road map for how to get there.
As senior director of private brand food initiatives,
I’ve been deeply entrenched in helping develop a road map. We recognized, for
example, that the majority of sodium in the diet of the average American comes
from processed foods. So we’ve focused our efforts on the 47 most popular
processed food categories, which include such examples as cheeses, cereal,
crackers, canned tomatoes and more.
One interesting discovery along the way
was that the sodium within the recipes of our own Great Value breads varied
from one production facility to another. So by working with each facility to
understand needs and challenges, we were able to develop a standardized process
that, in turn, helped produce long-term results in sodium reduction. There are
a variety of hurdles and challenges to reformulation work within private
brands, and there is the potential for even more with national brands. But
we’ve already proven that, with a relentless work ethic, real progress can be
made in the areas of sodium, sugar and trans fat reformulation. We continue to
identify and zero in on additional opportunities.
There was a day when all of this seemed
so overwhelming. But we’re creating a road map. We’re building best practices.
We’re growing relationships, learning from our experiences and helping to
influence a healthier tomorrow.
Feb. 8 marks the start of Chinese New Year, China’s most important celebration for families. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a weeklong public holiday during which families celebrate a year of hard work and wish for good luck in the coming year.
Those shopping in our stores in China see lots of Chinese New Year decorations and traditional foods stocked for this busy time. For readers who aren’t in China, here’s some background on the celebrations.
Traditional Family Meals
Before the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar, people all over China travel to their hometowns to unite with their families and decorate their homes in red — a color that symbolizes good luck and joy — and prepare for Chinese New Year celebrations. The night before the Chinese New Year, we prepare a feast made up of symbolic foods:
In Chinese culture, a fish course represents wealth in the future, while peanuts signify longevity and good health.
Some food symbolism in Chinese New Year dishes is more visual, such as hot pot, which involves simmering meat and vegetables in a round pot at the center of the table. The shape of the pot represents perfection and satisfaction.
Dumplings are an example of a food with a more historical tie because they resemble the gold currency — Yuanbao — used in ancient China. Today, dumplings are still thought to signify wealth in the coming year and are a delicious treat stuffed with different fillings.
Like with New Year’s Eve in the U.S. and other western countries, Chinese New Year involves staying up late. We light firecrackers at midnight, a tradition that dates back to ancient folklore. Though the New Year is a cause for celebration now, legend has it that Chinese villagers used to stoke their fires with bamboo to keep away a terrifying, sharp-toothed monster that arose from the sea at the end of the lunar year to prey on people and livestock. Now, we use firecrackers to celebrate the new year and also scare off any bad luck that might be on the horizon.
Celebrations culminate in the Lantern Festival, where people gather to admire the illuminated lanterns (some floating, some carried by children, some fixed as decorations) and guess riddles written on them. On New Year’s Day, people also watch lion dances, in which participants don elaborate, mythical lion costumes that seem larger than life — and eat rice dumplings.
One of our family traditions is for children and grandchildren to wish elders in the family good wishes for the new year and, in turn, the elders will give children a red envelope of money for good luck and to buy toys and books. Children often sleep with the red envelope under the pillow to bring good luck throughout the year.
The Year of the Monkey
This year is the year of the monkey, the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. People born in the year of the monkey are believed to be energetic, witty and mischievous. I look forward to greeting the year of the monkey surrounded by my family and enjoying the snacks and festivities that come with the celebrations. No matter your Chinese zodiac, may the New Year bring good fortune to you and your family!
I can still remember how the walls shook each time one of the space shuttles launched. Even though the launch pad was seven miles away, everything around me shook like an earthquake.
satellite engineer, I got to be close to the action. I had a lot of great
experiences during my 13 years with NASA. I worked as a satellite controller –
including the Hubble – and even built and tested rocket launching systems. It’s
something I will never forget!
shuttle site was deactivated in 2012, that left me needing to find another job.
I ended up moving from Florida to Wyoming to work as an engineer for a
satellite TV company for a year. After experiencing a harsh winter and a nearly
fatal car accident, I was ready to move back.
excited to be coming back to what I considered my home state. I wasn’t born
there, but Florida felt like home from the instant I arrived. It’s also where I
wanted to start life with my soon-to-be husband. It was easy to make the
decision to move back, but what I didn’t expect was how hard it would be to
start a brand-new career there.
very fortunate to have had a solid work history and had even spent eight years
in the Army supporting communications for the Pentagon and the White House. I
thought I had a great background that would help me easily find a new career,
but I was trying to find a new job right when unemployment was high. It was
hard for everyone to find work. I went on interview after interview, a lot of
them hourly jobs, each one telling me that I was overqualified. What none of
them understood was how badly I wanted to work and contribute to something
bigger. It was hard being without a job and to be continually told no.
applied at Walmart, but expected the same answer. It was an hourly job in a
store – there was no way they’d tell me yes when so many others had said no.
I’m so glad they proved me wrong.
gave me a chance, I can make Florida my permanent home and build a life here. They
knew that the leadership and problem-solving skills I’d learned in the Army and
at NASA would help me be a great associate. My experiences taught me how to
manage people well and get them focused on the task at hand. And being in the
Army taught me how to take the resources I had, analyze the situation and
create quick and efficient solutions. All of these things really help you when
working in a store.
I was hired as an electronics associate at store 1172 in Jacksonville,
Florida. It was challenging and fast-paced. I loved helping people and I
brought that attitude to work with me every day. After only a year, I was
promoted to Homelines department manager. I’ve been with Walmart for just over
two years now. I tell every associate that if you work hard, are conscientious,
use initiative and quickly take care of the problems you see – you’ll be
recognized. I only see opportunity here – there’s no limit to where you can go.
What’s my next step? I love people and leading teams, so I hope to work my way
up to be an assistant store manager soon.