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Wal-Mart and Michelle Obama team up for healthy foods


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.

Comments () | Archives (20)

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Now if the Michelle wants to do something about how eat and live. Why don't she get rid of the cooks, maids and the staff at the White House?

This is great news!I just hope that instead of cutting sodium a mere 25%,Wal-Mart offers sodium free products. There are many varieties of low sodium and low fat out there only you have to drive fifty miles into the city to purchaes them at the speciality stores such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods.I wish everyone could taste a can of Trader Joes sodium free salmon or tuna, they taste almost fresh.Their can of sodium free plum tomatoes and glass jar of spaghetti sauce is out of this world. Enough said, sodium free is best!

Just another bid by the Obama Goverment to control what we do, eat or how we live. Now they are trying to get help from the same Big Companies they said was the cause for all the problems. Typical Obama tactics, can't turn the people against them, then get them to join him. Well maybe this will turn out like Government Motors (GM) did and Walmart will start to lose money.

Here is a link to the book I mentioned in my comment yesterday: http://www.thefullbook.com/inside-book.html

I thank God For Mrs. Obama, she really has a caring spirit and so does the President. I pray that the Lord continues to lead them as they try to fix this broken country. God Bless them and May he ever Keep them.

A think it is a fantastic initiative. The Obama administration is proving itself to be more and more worthy of its international reputation. Dieting and healthy eating in the media has got more problems because of scams, but there are also new concepts that are rising up that are promising. Dr. Michael Snyder, the author of Full: A Life Without Dieting, demonstrates that being healthy has more to do with a healthy satisfaction than what we stop eating.

Thanks for the post. It’s good to hear that we could now alter the foods that we do usually cook. This article could help us to have a healthy food. This was really a great help to us. Nonetheless, I enjoy reading your article. Keep on posting such an informative article.

This is a step in the right direction. Michele can't fix it all. No one can stop this huge cancer on the world called Walmart, but we can pick away at them and bug them to try to give us better quality food.

Ms. Obama is doing a lot of good work with her advocacy, for which we can all be grateful. It is completely inappropriate for her to promote a corporation, as she did today.

Isn´t this wonderful! A first lady shills for a gigantic retail concern whose unfair competition is causing little stores and businesses to fail all over the world. I do not believe for a second that Walmart is going to reform itself--no more than capitalism ever will--no matter how many transfats they remove from their dreary gamut of pseudo-foods. Cheaper fruits and veggies? Baloney. You can get them cheaper at any farmers market, and you will have the advantage of knowing what all went into their production.

No mention on where all these fresh fruits and vegetables will be coming from....
Mexico, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica etc.

And will they still be gassing many fruits and vegetables in warehouses to ripen them, or will they be selling us naturally ripened products?

Reducing the prices is Wal-Mart speak for "we are putting the finger on our suppliers to reduce their prices to us, so that our corporate profits can increase while we reduce prices to the consumer." So, only the farmers lose in this deal!

Walmart and Organic Food? Something about that just doesn't sound Kosher to me.

I stepped into a Wal-Mart recently for the first time. It resembles a "museum" for processed foods. In my opinion, it's not just the companies to be forced to carry better foods but also educating the public understanding that eating well means buying fresh ingredients and cooking from scratch. Poor eating habits are due to lack of knowledge and laziness.

As an arch conservative, I applaud the First Lady's efforts on behalf of the American people to eat and live healthier. My sincerest thank you to her.

Love the idea of cutting unhealthy ingredients from some of the packaged foods and making them cheaper.Prevention is key. We deserve it. Let's take better care of ourselves and live life healthier. I have seen the benefits of eating healthier and exercising. You feel much better and stronger.

I'm sure we'll hear lots of complaints about how Mrs. Obama is once again trying to act as the Food Police. And, as usual, readers will just be looking for something to complain about today. Speaking as someone who's bought and tried to consume Wal-Mart's private label products, I'm grateful for the changes and the lower prices for fresh produce. It'll be the first really positive thing that the company has done in years for its customers. I appreciate the changes and hope that those who choose to/need to buy the Wal-Mart brand products will too.

I already shop at WalMart and after reading this I plan on shopping there a whole lot more - Getting healthy and saving, I like the sound of that! :)

Is it just me or is Mrs. Obama looking more attractive each year?

Very classy woman. The President is lucky.

A healthy consumer is a consumer that can consume for a longer time period. If those that are frequenting Walmart have a lower life expectancy due to diabetes, obesity, etc, caused by unhealthy eating, then those same people won't be buying clothing, dish soap, or other products in their old age. It makes good business sense to assist in the health and well being of your customers.

This is a great initiative. I wish they would get other manufacturers to do the same. The majority of Americans are priced out of the ability to provide healthy, balanced foods for their families.

And I love your dig at the haters! ;)


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