It’s rare to see a first lady endorse a superstore chain, but Wal-Mart’s new initiative to offer low-cost healthier foods is in line with Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity campaign. “When I see a company like Wal-Mart launch an initiative like this, I feel more hopeful than ever before,” said Ms. Obama at the announcement, calling it a “a huge victory for folks all across this country.” Wal-Mart unveiled the healthy food initiative at THEARC, a Southeast Washington community center that offers a nutritious food program. The company also announced plans to open their first stores in the D.C. area.
“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.”
Wal-Mart plans to make thousands of their packaged foods healthier by reducing sodium and sugar contents. They also plan to lower the cost of many foods that are already nutritious and to increase their charitable donations to nutrition programs. Wal-Mart has made several efforts to improve the quality of their produce and overall image, including purchasing more local produce and donating 1.1 billion pounds of products to food banks across the U.S.