Wal-Mart Pledges Healthier Products

WASHINGTON — Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday said it was rolling out an initiative to reduce sodium, trans fats and added sugar in its Great Value private label line and creating a front-of-pack label to help consumers identify healthier product choices.

WASHINGTON — Wal-Mart Stores [3] on Thursday said it was rolling out an initiative to reduce sodium, trans fats and added sugar in its Great Value private label line and creating a front-of-pack label to help consumers identify healthier product choices.

"Eating healthier is really hard to do," said Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer, Walmart U.S., in a press conference here. "It's hard to find healthier foods, and it's hard to afford healthier foods. That's what we are looking to solve."

The company said it would seek to cut sodium content by 25%, eliminate added trans fats and reduce added sugars by 10% by 2015, and will also encourage suppliers to take similar actions.

The new label will begin appearing on certain private label items later this year, and will be available for branded product as well.

In addition, Wal-Mart said it would step up support of organizations that provide nutrition education for consumers, and it would also seek to open more stores in underserved areas, or food deserts.

First Lady Michelle Obama [4] endorsed the initiative, saying Wal-Mart's actions have the power to influence the way food is produced and sold at supermarkets throughout the country.

"I believe this charter is a huge victory for folks all across this country," she said.