Healthier Food Options at Wal-Mart

In April, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) plans to push healthier products. The company plans to reduce sugar, fat and sodium in their private market brands, Marketside and Great Value. The new healthier items will have an icon on the label that says “Great for You.” The company also says some fresh fruits and vegetables that meet the healthy criteria will also be labeled. This comes after joining First Lady Michelle Obama in an initiative to fight obesity by offering healthier foods and lower prices on those selections.

The move will improve will improve Wal-Mart’s image while reaching more middle-income consumers, said Leon Nicholas, a senior vice president in Boston for Kantar Retail, a research and consulting company. “This won’t matter to their low-income customers, but there is demand with the middle-income customers,” Nicholas said. “They can also go to New York City Council and say, ‘we’re bringing healthy choices to inner city markets.’”

Wal-Mart is working on 165 items to make them healthier and has consulted with dietitians, nutritionists and the Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department.

Here’s how shares of Wal-mart are reacting to the news:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT): WMT shares recently traded at $61.65, down $0.23, or 0.37%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $48.31 to $62.63. Volume today was 152,418 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 9,218,660 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 13.05, while trailing earnings are $4.72 per share.

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