Making healthier food a reality for all
In 2011, Walmart committed to making food healthier, affordable and accessible. The five key elements of the program include:
1. Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015
We're reducing sodium by 25%, reducing added sugars by 10% and removing all remaining industrially produced trans fats.
Our estimates indicate that if the reformulations are adopted by the entire grocery industry, adults in the U.S. will consume approximately 47 million fewer pounds of sodium each year.
We've made a lot of progress and our customers are already enjoying the benefits.
Since 2008, sodium has declined by 16%. Between 2008 and 2011, we decreased sodium by 13% across the commercial bread category. This is equivalent to removing more than 1.5 million pounds of salt from the market baskets of our shoppers.
Surpassing our goal, sugars have declined by more than 10% since 2008. At the end of Fiscal Year 2014, fewer than 6% of products in our U.S. stores contained partially hydrogenated oils. Sugars have declined for three primary reasons: reformulated products; new, healthier products coming into the marketplace; and customers making healthier choices.
Since 2008, industrially produced trans fats have been reduced by 50%. Less than 10% of the foods and beverages we sold in 2011 contained industrially produced trans fats.
We set an ambitious goal: save customers approximately $1 billion per year on fresh fruits and vegetables. How? Through a variety of sourcing, pricing, and transportation and logistics initiatives that will drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain. We also set out to dramatically reduce or eliminate price premiums on key “better-for-you” items, such as reduced sodium, sugar or fat products.
And we are doing it. To date, we have saved our customers $3.5 billion by offering low prices on fruits and vegetables since 2012. As for the price premium on “better-for-you” items...we slashed the prices on more than 350 items, such as low-sodium lunchmeat, reduced-fat peanut butter and fat-free salad dressing.
3. Developing strong criteria for a simple front-of-package seal
Our customers told us they wanted to make healthier choices for their families, but needed help deciphering all the claims and information already displayed on products.
Unveiled in February 2012, Walmart’s “Great For You” icon provides customers with an easy way to quickly identify more nutritious food choices. As families continue to balance busy schedules and tight budgets, this simple tool encourages them to have a more nutritious diet.
More than 4,000 private-brand products were evaluated against the Great For You nutrition criteria, with approximately 32% of fresh produce, meats and packaged items receiving the icon.
4. Providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores in underserved communities
As part of our commitment to provide solutions to food deserts, we announced we would provide more than 1.3 million people living in more than 700 USDA designated food deserts with access to fresh, healthier food. We said we would open between 275 and 300 stores in areas serving food deserts by 2016.
Since our commitment in July 2011, we have brought healthier food options by opening 375 stores in areas serving urban and rural USDA-designated food deserts.
Education is the cornerstone for driving any sustainable change. Helping people understand what they are eating, what is healthy, what is not, so they can make healthier choices.
We’re focused on encouraging meals prepared at home and fruit and vegetable consumption, both of which lead to behavior change. This focus includes classes on cooking, building shopping skills or helping families make the most of healthy food resources. In October 2014, the Walmart Foundation broadened its existing commitment to increase charitable support for nutrition education to target a specific number of people reached rather than a dollar amount.