Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
I also want to thank one person who is not with us today and that is Michele Obama, the First Lady of the United States. It was a year ago, standing with the First Lady that we made a commitment to help address a challenge our customers face every day: how to feed their families healthy, affordable food. The First Lady’s leadership taught us a number of things that have helped make the announcements we are making today stronger. She reminded us that when people come together to work on a common goal they can make real progress. She also reminded us to keep our focus on the most important table in America – the kitchen table.
At Walmart, we talk to our customers all the time, especially Walmart Moms. Many of our shoppers are worried about how they will pay for everything from housing and health care to gas and groceries.
They are living a new normal. And the family dinner table is where the issues of the economy and raising a family come together every night. We see the difficult choices they have to make every day in our stores. They buy food in smaller packages, even when they know that larger sizes are a better deal. They tell us that they are using credit they don’t have to buy food because they don’t have the cash to complete their purchases. They are moving away from planning a meal and writing out a shopping list to making their grocery lists based on what’s on sale in the store.
Our customers tell us they want to feed their families healthy food. But they are confused by what they see on food labels and the conflicting advice they see in the news. They don’t have time to study and research all the options. And they can’t afford to pay more when they do find it.
So, they are asking us make the food in our stores healthier, to give them simple tools they to find food that healthy food, and to make the healthier food we sell more affordable.
The healthy food charter we announced last January was our response to those concerns. At Walmart, we don’t believe anyone should have to choose between food that is good for them and food they can afford. And we believe that as the nation’s largest grocer, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to work hard to deliver what our customers tell us they need rather than wait for others to provide solutions.
Today, we would like to share with you the results of our first years work.
A year ago, we pledged to work with our suppliers to reformulate thousands of everyday foods by reducing sodium and added sugars and by removing all industrially produced trans fats, beginning with our own Great Value and Marketside products.
We pledged to build nearly 300 stores in USDA designated as food deserts...to save our customers $1 billion every year on fresh fruits and vegetables....to reduce the price premium for better for you products like whole wheat pasta ....and to increase our support for nutrition education efforts.
I’m pleased to say we have met our first year goals in all these areas.
Finally, we also pledged to create a simple, front-of-pack icon that will help busy families identify healthier foods when they shop for groceries. We’ve had conversations across the nutrition community on how to do this right. We consulted with the FDA and USDA, with the White House, and with many of the people in this room
And we’ve tried to work together in a transparent way – so that the results are reliable and credible and trustworthy.
We are pleased to unveil that icon here today.
The “Great For You” icon we’re announcing will begin to appear on fresh produce and selected Great Value and Marketside products on the shelves of our 3,800 stores this spring. We hope it will be an important tool to help them make their kitchen tables healthier.
Now, I’d like to ask Andrea Thomas, our Senior Vice President of Sustainability, to talk more about our “Great For You” icon and to update you on the progress we’ve made against all of the goals we announced last year.