Walmart to reformulate store brand items, make them healthier

Sunday, January 30, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Wal-Mart, health food, health news

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(NaturalNews) America's largest grocer, Walmart, recently announced that it will reformulate its "Great Value" store brand line of food products to include less sodium and sugar, and the removal of all remaining industrially-produced trans fats. The Washington D.C. event where the official announcement was made featured First Lady Michelle Obama as well as CEO of Walmart U.S. Bill Simon, who together outlined the plan.

By 2015, Walmart intends to cut the sodium content of its Great Value products by 25 percent and the added sugar content by 10 percent. It will also cut all trans fats, including hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats and oils, from its packaged food products. The complete removal of trans fats represents a substantial shift in the industry that is likely to trigger a domino effect among major producers.

Walmart also plans to cut the prices of its fruit and vegetable lineup by improving transportation logistics and ironing out better sourcing strategies, which the company says will ultimately improve efficiency throughout the supply chain and save customers $1 billion per year. The company said it will also work with suppliers to improve the overall nutritional quality of its reformulated products, but did not specify precisely what changes will be made.

"Our customers tell us they want a variety of food choices and need help feeding their families healthier foods. At Walmart, we are committed to doing both," said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. "We support consumer choice so this is not about telling people what they should eat. This effort is aimed at eliminating sodium, sugar and trans fat in products where they are not really needed."

Other aspects of the initiative include building more stores in poorer communities that lack access to fresh foods, putting nutrition labels on the front of store brand items, and contributing funds to charities that assist those in need.

Walmart did not, however, announce any plans to remove genetically-modified (GM) ingredients from its products. Asda, the U.K. subsidiary of Walmart, does not sell any GM or GM-containing products at its stores (

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