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Wal-Mart and Michelle Obama team up for healthy foods

January 20, 2011 |  9:45 am

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Wal-Mart and First Lady Michelle Obama are trying to change what you put in your mouth.

The retail giant has joined forced with the first lady on a new initiative -- announced Thursday in Washington -- that will slash the unhealthy fats, salts and sugars in the packaged foods that appear under Wal-Mart's Great Value label. Moreover, Wal-Mart vowed to slash prices on fresh fruits and veggies.

Given Wal-Mart's commercial reach, the initiative has the potential to reduce the amount of fats, salts and sugars consumed by Americans each day. And it no doubt will be welcomed by harried parents who rely on Wal-Mart's convenience products to get dinner on the table each night.

It's also a natural next step for Wal-Mart: The company has already made a push into the organics market. According to the New York Times, aides say it is the first time the first lady has thrown her support behind the work of a single company.

Now we sit back and wait for the haters to weigh in. You know, the people who hate Wal-Mart. The people who hate anything that comes out of the Obama White House. The people who will say this smacks of social engineering. And, of course, we'll have to wait and see what Sarah Palin thinks. (Palin famously ridiculed the first lady's efforts to encourage healthy eating, a position that has in turn caused some to lampoon the former Alaska governor.)

But who cares what all those folks think! What do you think about Wal-Mart's move? Will this encourage you to shop there in an effort to support the initiative? And are you more likely to give Wal-Mart's convenience foods a second look now that you know they're getting healthier?

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Wal-Mart President and CEO Bill Simon looks on as First lady Michelle Obama discusses Wal-Mart's promise to provide healthier and more affordable food. Credit: Cliff Owen / Associated Press

There are more ripple effects to come: Wal-Mart and White House officials say the company is also going to ask its major food suppliers – Kraft among them – to join in.

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