This Article is About
childhood obesity epidemic
retail giant
food choices
plastic toys
health and nutrition
walmart
cheap food
Wal Mart Wades Into The Nutritional Labeling Waters: Great For You Label May Extend To Other Product Lines Soon
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Wal Mart Wades Into the Nutritional Labeling Waters: Great for You Label May Extend to Other Product Lines Soon

Whole Foods, the high end, whole foods grocery store started its labeling campaign "Health Starts Here" two years ago. In addition to offering free information about food choices and recipes to cook for families, the store held in house events that were meant to introduce new foods and concepts to the public. Signs all over the store now carry the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index or ANDI score so that shoppers can see how the nutrition facts stack up in each food item. Safeway stores started a labeling movement last year, calling it Simple Nutrition". Those tags now grace the shelves and items throughout the stores.

WalMart has now announced that it is joining the ranks of those stores with a labeling campaign it is calling "Great for You". Spokespeople said that the retail giant worked closely with government agencies, including the US Department of Agriculture, non-profit health and nutrition experts and others before assigning that label to only a small percentage of their in store products. If the labels work out the way that WalMart hopes, it may expand the program to include the products of other companies. Currently, only about one fifth of the items that are sold by WalMart will be allowed to have the new Great for You label.

Nutrition experts are concerned that WalMart, typically thought of as the store of lower income people and cheap, nutritionally lacking foods, will be sending a confusing, contradictory message. Other critics have pointed out that a sampling of the typical shopper at the store reveals major weight problems and a lack of understanding about nutritional guidelines.

Other companies have fought the battle between good foods and cheap foods and have lost. McDonalds is arguably the poster child for that problem, being blamed for single handedly causing the childhood obesity epidemic with cheap food and the lure of little plastic toys. WalMart may offer healthy foods and may even add new labels to them, but will the customers buy them? After all, points out more than one nutritional expert, these are not new food items that are being brought into the store, but rather new labels to point out foods that have sat on these shelves all along. The percentage of foods that earn the label should also serve as a sobering reminder of how many chances there are to make truly bad food choices whenever we are out grocery shopping for our families.


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