As many of you probably heard, Walmart (and the First Lady) recently announced a plan to make thousands of its packaged foods healthier and to drop prices on fruits and vegetables. This came on the heels of a pledge made this fall to increase their purchasing of locally-grown foods to at least nine percent by 2015.
This week’s Clean Your Plate is dedicated to the supercenter behemoth. Why? Well, like everything about Walmart, it comes down to size. With more than 2,750 superstores nationwide, Walmart owns a whopping 25 percent share of the U.S. grocery market. In other words, of every dollar Americans spend on groceries, a quarter goes to Walmart.
So, a two-pronged pledge that involves 1) reducing sodium, trans fat and sugar in its Great Value brand of packaged foods and 2) somehow reducing the prices of fruits and vegetables, has the potential to make a huge dent in our waistlines. Or does it?
There’s no doubt that Americans are consuming too much bad stuff — but will changing the recipe (in relatively small ways) really make a difference? And, will making fruits and vegetables even cheaper (without making the prices on processed food more accurate) mean more people will buy and eat them? And don’t get me started on a particularly insidious part of the plan that involves addressing food deserts by, you guessed it, building more Walmarts.
In any case, other people have written more extensively and eloquently about the announcement — a selection of my favorites appears below. I think you’ll find the difference of opinion quite interesting.
Have something to say about the new plan? An article you think we should read? Let us know in the comments.
- Jane Black: Why Walmart got it right
- Tom Philpott: Walmart vows to use its power for good food, not evil
- The Atlantic: The meaning of Walmart’s healthy foods announcement
- Marion Nestle: What are we to think about Walmart’s healthy food initiatives
- Fooducate Blog: Walmart’s nutrition initiative: PR or substance?
- Melanie Warner: Why the Walmart-Michelle Obama plan for healthy eating is doomed
A few other Walmart articles you might enjoy:
- Fresh Air: The bigger the Wal-Mart, the fatter the shoppers
- Anthony Flaccavento: Walmart and the end of the local food movement
- Change.org: Walmart would kill jobs, lower wages in NY
image credit: mjb84/Creative Commons