Walmart announced today they would begin placing a new icon with the words “Great For You” on food items that they consider healthy.
“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. 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,” said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart.
Walmart stated that the “Great For You” icon will be available to qualifying national brand products as well as Walmart private label goods.
First lady Michelle Obama made a statement in support of the program. “Today’s announcement by Walmart is yet another step toward ensuring that our kids are given the chance to grow up healthy” said Mrs. Obama, going on to say “… 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.”
But just what nutritional standards are they using to identify foods as “Great For You”?
According to Walmart, the foods marked with the icon “must meet rigorous nutrition criteria informed by the latest nutrition science and authoritative guidance from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM).”
Walmart has put together a website, http://www.walmartgreatforyou.com, with detailed information outlining just what the qualifications are for a food item to wear the “Great For You” icon. This site explains that there is a two-step qualification. The first step is what foods must contain – primarily fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats and dairy products. The second step is what they must not contain – including limited percentages of fats, sodium, and added sugars.
The new icon is scheduled to begin appearing on products this Spring.