Trying to get your whole family to eat healthier? Wal-Mart’s got your back. The retail giant has made big strides over the past two years in lowering the cost of its fresh fruits and veggies, decreasing the sugar in its products, and making healthy food easier to spot on its shelves. Now they’ve also debuted a “Great For You” icon that will appear on more than 1,300 products on its shelves to take some of the guesswork out of reading labels. Featured products must meet nutrition criteria guided by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine. “We believe Wal-Mart has a role to play in making healthier foods not only more affordable, but easier for our customers to find,” Wal-Mart spokesperson Kory Lundberg told Parenting.com.
“Every day, great American companies are achieving greater and greater success by creating and selling healthy products,” Michelle Obama said, commending the businesses in an Op-Ed piece for The Wall Street Journal. “They are showing that what's good for kids and good for family budgets can also be good for business."
In a recent speech before a Partnership for Healthier America summit, Obama recalled the challenges she faced as a working mom in her pre-White House days, trying to find healthy foods for her kids during rushed trips to the grocery story. "I didn't exactly have time to peruse the aisles, thoughtfully reading labels, and I know my experiences are not unique," she said.
The megastore is just one of many companies stepping up its act in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program to end childhood obesity. Disney, Mars, Hershey and PepsiCo. have reduced their unhealthy food marketing to kids.
Companies’ efforts are making a difference one family at a time. Stephanie Kennedy of Springfield, MO, is raising her two young grandchildren. “I shop for groceries on a tight budget,” Kennedy says. “If there’s a choice I can make that’s both less expensive and more nutritious, that’s a win for me and my family.”
Do you find food labels confusing? Does clearer labeling make you more likely to shop at Wal-Mart? Leave a comment.