My friend Chris posted this link to an Associated Press news article on Facebook this morning. The article makes it sound and look like Wal-Mart really has our best interests at heart. And because Michelle Obama lent her support to their efforts, well, then, Wal-Mart must love us all, right?
“Less clear is whether the food initiative will help Wal-Mart persuade reluctant cities to let it expand. Wal-Mart executives have noted that city officials have seemed more willing in recent months as they look for ways to create jobs.”
And in this part of the story, I read it as “cutting jobs” because that is where corporate America goes first when they try to reduce their bottom line:
“Besides the changes to its products, Wal-Mart said it would reduce prices on fruits and vegetables by $1 billion a year by attempting to cut unnecessary costs from the supply chain.”
If you have ever shopped in Wal-Mart, you have seen the size of all their fruits and vegetables. They have the BIGGEST onions, apples, and carrots I have ever seen in a produce section. I don’t buy my produce there if I have an option of another store to go to. So, yeah, while they might have the lowest price per pound, you come out the other end of the check out line having spent more money. If your cabbage is only 25 cents a pound, but the smallest one they have is 14 pounds, you’re gonna go home with a $3.50 cabbage when you only needed 50 cents worth. THAT is not in the best interests of the customer, in my opinion.
Oh, and they are going to reduce the cost of healthier foods for us too:
“The company also said it would work to reduce prices on healthier items made with more expensive ingredients:”Our customers often ask us why whole wheat pasta sometimes costs more than regular pasta made by the same manufacturer,” said Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of sustainability.”
I have found that whenever a product is labeled “gluten free” it tends to be priced higher than a similar product that is exactly the same but does not have GF on the label. I have often wondered how NOT putting something in a product can cause it to cost MORE? whether it is reduced sodium, no MSG, or wheat free, it usually means higher price.
“Wal-Mart said it plans to reduce sodium by a quarter and cut added sugars in some of its store-brand products by 2015. It also plans to remove remaining industrially produced trans fats and develop a logo for products that meet its criteria for health.”
But I found this article by the American Heart Association, that says:
“The American Heart Association is working with federal agencies to identify strategies to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply. The association is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in foods by 50 percent over a 10-year period. Over the next three years, the association will focus on helping Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume via three strategies”
That makes me think that Wal-Mart is just trying to make us think it loves us. It is laughable to think they want to cut sodium by 25% when most processed foods have 300% too much in them. “Healthier” does not always mean “Healthy”.
And, it may just be because I am diabetic and gluten intolerant, butI think if they would take sugar and wheat out of products where they aren’t needed, they would be taking a huge step in the right direction towards helping us all be more healthy. Since I started eating a gluten free diet in 2007, my blood sugar has been kept in better control, and my intake of sugar and salt has been drastically reduced, simply because I can no longer eat products that contain wheat. I am not able to use prepared, processed foods as much, and I cook more fruits, vegetables and plain, non-breaded meats and fish. When I do make cook something that is battered or breaded, and that is not often, I prepare it myself using gluten free ingredients.