Bentonville, Arkansas based big box behemoth Walmart is set to launch its new front-of-pack ‘healthy seal’ on Private Brand products in Spring 2012. The seal was first put on hold back in January, and was originally scheduled to appear on the front of qualifying Walmart Private Brand products later this year as a way to simplify the shopping experience and easily signal to customers products which are healthier choices.
While the timetable has changed, however, Walmart remains committed to launching it, media relation’s director Lorenzo Lopez commented said, “We are working on the nutrition criteria and finalizing our efforts around the healthier food seal. We anticipate that the seal will be available around the spring of 2012. In the meantime, we’re been working on the reformulation of Great Value products, such as a 15% reduction of sodium in Great Value Ketchup”.
Walmart has not yet released details about the science underpinning the seal, or confirmed whether the nutrition criteria will be category-specific or universally applied. Despite the former vice president of Private Brands and current senior vice-president of sustainability for Walmart, Andrea Thomas, said in January that the seal would be developed “in consultation with health organizations to help customers identify healthier food for their families.
She went on to say, “The seal will be supported by a nutritious food standard designed to increase vitamins, minerals, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables in food products, while limiting saturated fats, sodium and added sugars”.
It remains to be seen how this will compare to the other major programs, which have been launched over the last few years, Guiding Stars from Delhaize, the Nutrition Keys from FMI/GMA or NuVal from Topco.