Last Drop: Wellness Watchmen
As part of the fight against obesity, food and beverage companies have pledged to better communicate to consumers in regard to the calorie and nutrient information of their products. Last year, American Beverage Association members began rolling out beverage containers bearing front-of-package nutrition information across the country. Calorie counts are beginning to appear on the front of packages of major brands from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé Waters and more.
Also helping consumers make healthy choices, retail giant Wal-Mart announced a plan earlier this year to provide customers with healthier and more affordable food choices. In February, Leslie Dach, vice president of Wal-Mart, appeared on “The Colbert Report,” a satirical news show. The show’s host Stephen Colbert described Wal-Mart’s initiative as, “Big Brother mandating â€” through opportunity â€” that I not eat myself into a coma of Cheetos.”
Dach said Wal-Mart’s plan responds to demands from its shoppers, which the company reports amount to more than 140 million customers each week.
“[Consumers] want to eat healthy but they don’t know what to do,” Dach said. “They see all these weird things on TV. They go to the stores, and they can’t understand the labels. They see something healthy, but it’s too expensive. So we said, ‘You know what? We can make the food healthier. We can make the healthier food more affordable.’”
As part of its multi-faceted plan, Wal-Mart pledged to reformulate key categories of its Great Value private brand. In addition, the retailer will collaborate with suppliers to reformulate comparative national brands by 2015. Its plan aims to reduce sodium by 25 percent, decrease added sugars by 10 percent and remove all industrially produced trans fats in all packaged food products.