This winter, Wal-Mart announced their plans to bring more local produce to their stores across the United States. The announcement is perhaps one of the most visible indications that the local foods movement has hit the mainstream, as it gains followers for both economic and environmental reasons. Yet it is necessary to approach such an announcement with a dose of skepticism when it comes from a company that seems to be driven so heavily by the bottom line.
Some have criticized Wal-Mart’s new policy to promote local food as little more than a marketing ploy, and have accused the company of re-labeling products they already procure locally. However, in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Wal-Mart says that the consumer demand for local produce is aligned with cost-savings objectives. Wal-Mart, like many other national chains, says that they can save money on transportation by purchasing food near to its point of sale and also cut down on waste due to food spoilage. In a press release, the company announced that they hope to source up to nine percent of all produce locally.
Many grocery stores also spotlight their local produce, although the definition of “local” is depends on the store. Here is a look at how some of the major grocery chains defined local produce.
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In more food recall news, this time frozen vegetables are being pulled from shelves and consumers are warned to review the items in their homes to return for refund. The voluntary recall by Pictsweet Co., reports CNN.com, was not prompted by any injury reports, only a preventative step. These frozen vegetables may have glass fragments in the packages.
Important Recall Details:
- Store-brand frozen vegetables: Kroger brand and Great Value brand
- Frozen vegetables sold in Kroger and Wal-Mart stores nationwide
- May contain glass fragments
- Return recalled packages to retailer for full refund
- Kroger 12-ounce Green Peas (UPC 11110 89736). Production Codes of 1440BU, 1440BV, 1440BW, and 1600BD.
- Kroger 12-ounce Peas and Carrots (UPC 11110 89741). Production Codes of 1960BD and 1960BE.
- Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Sweet Peas (UPC 78742 08369). Best by dates of July 20, 2012; July 21, 2012.
- Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Mixed Vegetables (UPC 78742 08026). Best by date of July 15, 2012.
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The nation’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, has rolled out the NuVal nutrition scoring system to 23 Lexington, Kentucky stores to help shoppers make healthier food choices. The scoring system gives each food a score, from 1 to 100. Foods with high scores are more nutritious, foods with low scores are less. Shoppers also have the added confidence that the ranking system is provided by a third party, not food or beverage producers. NuVal was developed by nutrition and medical experts from top health organizations and universities.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the NuVal scores is how poorly some of the “health” foods ranked against regular snacks. For example, Garden of Eatin’ no salt added blue corn chips actually score better than an Odwalla Fruit smoothie: the chips earn a score of 52 while the smoothie gets a 49. Fresh fruits and vegetables get scores near to 100.
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