Walmart calls out healthy foods with 'Great For You' icon

WASHINGTON — In an effort to assure customers that private-label products are meeting the proper nutrition criteria, Walmart announced it is implementing a transparent initiative called "Great For You," an icon that calls out healthy foods sold in Walmart stores, Walmart announced on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Initially appearing on fruits, vegetables and the retailer's Walmart Great Value and Marketside brands this spring — and eventually made available to national brand products that qualify — Great For You is looking to make it easier for shoppers to build healthier diets. Items that tout the icon must meet criteria based on the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine. Walmart said Great for You also "can be complementary to other nutrition labeling systems being used by the food industry."

“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,” Walmart SVP sustainability Andrea Thomas said. “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.”

The announcement builds on the retailer's declaration last year to make food healthier and more affordable. The initiative includes reformulating packaged food to reduce sodium and added sugars and eliminate industrially produced fats by 2015; making healthier food more affordable by providing savings on produce and reducing the price premium on better-for-you food items; developing solutions for food deserts; and increasing charitable support for nutrition education programs.

“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 a billion dollars 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.”

Additional details about Walmart's Great for You icon can be found here.