Remember how Walmart is planning on opening several stores in the District? Well, due to the considerable influence of our First Lady, who has made nutrition a national priority, those stores will be stocking healthier versions of Walmart’s house-branded foods, as well as more fresh produce:
In interviews previewing the announcement, Wal-Mart and White House officials said the company was also pledging to press its major food suppliers, like Kraft, to follow its example. Wal-Mart does not disclose how much of its sales come from its house brand. But Kraft says about 16 percent of its global sales are through Wal-Mart.
In addition, Wal-Mart will work to eliminate any extra cost to customers for healthy foods made with whole grains, said Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president for corporate affairs. By lowering prices on fresh fruits and vegetables, Wal-Mart says it will cut into its own profits but hopes to make up for it in sales volume. “This is not about asking the farmers to accept less for their crops,” he said.
I know many D.C. residents are less than thrilled about Walmart’s impending arrival, but increasing access to healthy, affordable foods is one way to look at the “bright side” of such a development.
The Washington Post has more:
In a glowing endorsement of the type that first ladies have rarely, if ever, made of major corporations, Obama called Wal-Mart’s effort “a huge victory for folks all across this country” and said it has the “potential to transform the marketplace.”
“When I see a company like Wal-Mart launch an initiative like this, I feel more hopeful than ever before,” said Obama, who has made fighting childhood obesity and increasing nutritious food options in poor neighborhoods a top priority. “We can improve how we make and sell food in this country.”…
“No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,” Bill Simon, president and chief executive of Walmart U.S., said in a statement posted on the company’s Web site. “With more than 140 million customers each week, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a difference by making food healthier and more affordable to everyone.”
Walmart’s size means that it is in a powerful position to influence the vendors and suppliers with whom it works. The First Lady made her endorsement/announcement at The Arc, in Southeast.