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Walmart unveils ‘Great for You’ icon

Icon to appear on hundreds of food items and provide simple way to make healthier food choices

4/8/2013, 10:32 p.m. | Updated on 4/8/2013, 10:32 p.m.

Special to The Dallas Examiner

A year after pledging to develop a front-of-pack label that would give its customers an easier way to identify healthier food, Walmart – the nation’s largest food retailer – unveiled the “Great for You” icon at an event last month in Washington, D.C. The icon, part of the company’s Healthier Food Initiative, is an effort to implement a transparent, summarizing icon for its private label brand products that must meet rigorous nutrition criteria. Starting this spring, at Walmart stores in the United States nationwide, the “Great for You” icon will appear on select Walmart Great Value and Marketside items, as well as on fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables.

“Walmart moms are telling us they want to make healthier choices for their families, but need help deciphering all the claims and information already displayed on products,” said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of Sustainability at Walmart. “Our ‘Great for You’ icon provides customers with an easy way to quickly identify healthier food choices. As they continue to balance busy schedules and tight budgets, this simple tool encourages families to have a healthier diet.”

“Today’s announcement by Walmart is yet another step toward ensuring that our kids are given the chance to grow up healthy,” first lady Michelle Obama said. “Just over a year ago, Walmart committed to save shoppers $1 billion in their cost of fruits and vegetables and the fact that Walmart exceeded this number is a real accomplishment and a milestone in our efforts to support families eating better. In addition, the healthy seal will be another tool for parents to identify the best products for their kids. Giving parents the information they need to make healthy choices is a key piece of solving childhood obesity.”

Items with the “Great for You” icon must meet rigorous nutrition criteria, formed by the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine. Developed in collaboration with food and nutrition experts from the public and private sectors, as well as leading health organizations, the “Great for You” nutrition criteria are available to the public on the web at http://www.walmartgreatforyou.com. The icon represents a collaborative, transparent effort to develop a trusted, reliable system for consumers. The icon will also be made available to national brand products that qualify and can be complementary to other nutrition labeling systems being used by the food industry.

“Walmart’s effort to bring healthier food to kitchen tables nationwide was inspired by our customers and informed by the latest food science and policy,” said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of Corporate Affairs at Walmart. “Last year we stood with the first lady and showed how Walmart – working with its suppliers, the public sector and non-governmental organizations – can truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

Dach added, “We are proud to announce that after a year of working with nutrition stakeholders, meaningful progress is being made. We have the opportunity to address an issue many feel is too complicated or too hard to tackle and to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be.”