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    Walmart Unveils Food Sustainability Initiative

    Aims to improve affordability, access to food, safety and transparency

    By Kyle Shamorian, Stagnito Business Information

    Walmart Stores unveiled a new commitment to food sustainability, designed to enhance the affordability and access to food, facilitate healthy eating, and improve the safety and transparency of the food chain.

    “As the world’s largest retailer, we understand that securing the future of food is critical for society. We know from our last decade of work in sustainability that we can make a difference in the way food is produced and delivered by working closely with our suppliers and partners," Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart Foundation president and SVP of sustainability, told Progressive Grocer. "Part of the opportunity is lowering the true cost of food – not just the price to the customer, but the cost to the environment and society more broadly."

    Walmart outlined its sustainable food initiative under the following four pillars:

    Affordable: Working collaboratively with suppliers, Walmart said it has the opportunity to lower the “true cost” of food – not only by providing everyday low costs for customers, but also by decreasing the environmental impact of agricultural practices. The company said it will launch its Climate Smart Agriculture Platform, designed to increase visibility over the next 10 years to agricultural yields, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and water usage, while driving adoption of best practices in sustainable agriculture.

    Accessible:  Since announcing its “Fighting Hunger Together” commitment in 2010, Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities have donated more than 1.58 billion pounds of food, surpassing the initial goal of 1.1 billion over five years, a year early. In addition, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will elevate their commitment to accessibility by aiming to provide 4 billion healthier meals to those who need them in the U.S. over the next five years.

    Healthier:  Aligning with its commitment to ensure that eating healthier is easy and affordable, Walmart said it has reduced sodium by 13 percent and sugar levels by 10 percent in Great Value, Marketside and nationally branded products, and launched its “Great for You” icon to empower consumers to identify healthier food options on store shelves. Additionally, starting in 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will provide nutrition education to 4 million U.S. households.

    Safe and Transparent:  Walmart said it will work to provide more information and transparency about the products on its shelves so customers can see where an item came from, how it was made, and decode the ingredient label.

    "Today, we renewed our commitment to create a more sustainable food system, and announced some new initiatives and goals to help drive advancements in the areas of affordability, accessibility, healthier eating, safety and transparency," McLaughlin continued. "By working together, we can pave the way for a more sustainable food system that is not only good our planet, but for our customers and communities.”

    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates 11,053 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.

     

    By Kyle Shamorian, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Kyle Shamorian In his digital editor role, Kyle Shamorian oversees all content on progressivegrocer.com, Progressive Grocer’s online extension that features real-time daily news, exclusive content, new products, blogs, and related multimedia products. In addition to writing and editing content on a wide range of grocery industry issues, Kyle helms the Brain Food department in PG’s print edition, which spotlights shopper behavior and consumer trends in the retail industry. Before joining Progressive Grocer’s editorial team in July 2012, Kyle, a 2003 graduate of Marquette University, previously managed digital platforms for a variety of industries.

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