Walmart has announced a massive plan to cut sodium and added sugar from thousands of products, add stores in poor areas that don’t currently have supermarkets, and slash prices on produce. The plans were announced in partnership with First Lady Michelle Obama, whose “Lets Move” campaign aims to cut childhood obesity rates.
The First Lady joined Walmart executives in making the announcement, and said the company’s plans offer “the potential to transform the marketplace and help Americans put healthier foods on their tables every single day.” While Walmart’s plan was praised by the First Lady, some critics see the company’s move as less than altruistic, and too tentative on the sugar front. As ABC News put it,
Walmart may have joined the first lady’s campaign ultimately to help its bottom line. The company has been trying to open stores in big cities and says if they’re allowed, they would bring healthier food to places with limited access to groceries….
[Michael Jacobson, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, told ABC News that] the retailer took a baby step on sugar. “I’m disappointed they didn’t do anything with regard to soft drinks. They are the number one source of sugar and probably the biggest contributor in our diet to weight gain.”
Walmart plans to reduce sodium by 25%, cut added sugars, and eliminate trans fats from its private-label products. The company also expects to reduce produce prices by $1 billion a year, largely by pushing its suppliers to cut their costs.