Icon to appear on hundreds of food items and provide simple way to make healthier food choices; Update on progress made over past year
Walmart Takes Lead in Front-of-Package (FOP) Nutrition Labeling
My colleague, Richard Perlmutter, Abington Nutrition Services says "there is a real contest developing between government and industry to determine the preferred format for front-of-package (FOP) nutrition labeling." FOP takes the nutrition facts panel to the next step and creates an easy to read icon on the front of the package for consumers to make quick decisions on the "healthfulness" of different food & beverage products. For some people the current Nutrition Facts Label can be confusing… when you combine the growth in smart phones and tables that are icon based, it makes sense to consider information delivery in a graphical format.
The Great for You Icon
Walmart is trying to take the lead with providing healthier food and developed the"Great For You" icon which is part of the company's healthier food initiative. "Great For You" will initially appear on select Walmart Great Value and Marketside items, as well as on fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables at Walmart U.S. stores nationwide this spring. By extending "Great For You" to fruits and vegetables and nutritious food options the company will make it easier for its customers to build healthier diets. Items with the "Great For You" icon must meet rigorous nutrition criteria informed by the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM).
"Walmart moms are telling us they want to make healthier choices for their families, but need help deciphering all the claims and information already displayed on products," said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. The icon serves as a guide to help people make incremental changes to their diet by encouraging more nutritious food choices in 2 steps:
- Encouraging people to eat more fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds and lean meats. Examples of these items include brown rice, 1 percent milk, raw almonds and 93 percent lean ground beef.
- Limits the amount of total, trans and saturated fats, sodium and added sugars that can be found in items such as sweetened oatmeal, granola bars, flavored yogurt and frozen meals.
Walmart claims an extensive evaluation process over thousands of grocery items so only nutritious items in each grocery category receive the "Great For You" icon.
Addressing Affordability and Better for You Choices
The development of the "Great For You" icon is part of an initiative Walmart launched in 2011 to make food healthier and healthier food more affordable. The initiative includes reformulating packaged food to reduce sodium and added sugars and eliminate industrially produced fats by 2015; making healthier food more affordable by providing savings on produce and reducing the price premium on better-for-you food items; developing solutions for food deserts; and increasing charitable support for nutrition education programs.
"At a time when obesity rates are the highest ever for Americans, especially Hispanics, Walmart's new 'Great For You' symbol will help make eating healthy the easier choice," said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. "In order to successfully help Latino children and families eat healthier, we hope other food companies will follow in Walmart's footsteps and commit to increasing access to healthier food at a lower cost."
Over the past year, Walmart has been working with private label brand and national brand suppliers to make progress on its goals. To date, some of the highlights include:
Making healthier food choices more affordable
The company surpassed one of its key goals, helping customers save $1.1 billion by offering low prices on fruits and vegetables. In addition, the company has been working to make healthier food choices more affordable by reducing or eliminating the price premium on more than 350 better-for-you items, such as low-sodium lunch meat, reduced-fat peanut butter and fat-free salad dressing.
Walmart Express - a Key Component to address food deserts with small format retail
The new Walmart Express in Chicago appears to be Walmarts leading edge for serving urban food desserts, their estimate is they can serve 1.3 million people living in more than 700 USDA designated food deserts with access to fresh and healthy food. Walmart Express are small format retail stores of approximately 3,000 sq ft featuring food and merchandising fresh produce front and center as consumers enter the store. The company said it will open between 275 and 300 stores in areas serving food deserts by 2016. Since its commitment in July 2011, Walmart has opened 23 stores in areas serving food deserts and anticipates opening between 50 to 60 Walmart stores or Neighborhood Market locations in those areas in 2012.
Connecting the Dots at Walmart
The Great For You program is just another piece in What's Happening at Walmart affecting the Billion Dollar Food & Beverage Sector.
Want to Know More Details on WalMart Great For You Label
What to Make of the New Walmart Great For You Label is an in-depth look into how to read their new FOP labels and additional insight.