Walmart plans a healthy Great Value brand

Photo of a Great Value brand jar.

Walmart promises to increase the health in their Great Value brands. CC by bucklava/Flickr

After months of discussions with Michelle Obama, executives at Walmart have made a promise to make their food healthier. The Great Value brand is going to be reformatted. It will cut down on salt, sugar and trans-fat content. There have been similar promises from other companies. Record-high food prices make the timing of this move particularly interesting.

How to ‘healthy-up’ Great Value

Walmart promised to make a healthier Great Value brand on Thursday in an announcement. The company shared its goals, which will include getting trans fats, sodium and added sugars reduced. The prices of fresh fruits and vegetables in stores are also things the company promised to reduce. Another goal of Walmart is to add more whole grains. This will be in most of the packaged goods at the store. The store has also said it will push suppliers of name brand products to meet these goals. Many store-brand products are often produced by name-brand suppliers and re-branded for the store, so this would make sense for suppliers.

Suppliers say healthier food will come

Healthy incentives for processed foods have been coming from other stores besides Walmart. By 2015, there have been promises to reduce sodium by 20 percent in products by ConAgra foods, who owns Healthy Choice, Marie Calendar’s, Hunt’s, Hebrew National, Snack Pack and many other brands. Companies are beginning to regulate themselves even though the Food and Drug administration hasn’t been adding any requirements. However, these self-regulating actions are not always proving effective. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, no whole food ingredients and no green vegetables are in more than 84 percent of items that the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative consider healthy.

Will a cheaper price help?

The cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is another goal Walmart has stated. Reducing food costs, however, may not be the answer to encouraging people to eat healthier. Worldwide, food costs are hitting record highs, so promising to reduce profit margin seems to be the right move. Many are upset about cheap food though. This is because it has made for more industrial food that has been processed. On average, about 15 percent of disposable income was spent on food in 1970 though. That number went to 10 percent by 2009. Without raising the price, many want to know how Walmart can promise healthier food.



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