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Walmart and Nutrition

Walmart's Commitment to Providing Healthier Food

So I'm sure you've read all the blogs bashing Walmart but what about their nutrition?  What does Walmart bring to our table as far as Nutrition goes?  I'd like to shed some light on the subject for you.  Even if you're anti Walmart we all need to keep an open mind and learn about every aspect before forming our ever so "set in our way" opinions.

Let's face it, in this day and age when it comes to nutrition we could all use an economical way to feed our families heathy food.  Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced $9.5 million in grants to organizations with a shared mission of promoting healthy eating habits. The funding will support nutrition education programs, provide classes focused on learning to cook and shop for healthier foods on a budget and provide live cooking demonstrations in communities nationwide. Still anti Walmart?    

Demonstrating how simple heart-healthy cooking can be is a great way to inspire Americans to prepare nutritious, budget-friendly meals at home.  In October, Walmart participated in National Food Day by promoting healthy recipes recommended by the American Heart Association.  Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. If you’re ready to start cooking at home, Walmart has dozens of recipes and pointers to ease you into the kitchen. Their recipes are simple, nutritious and each has a preparation video so you won’t miss a step.  Still Anti Walmart?

Walmart announced in July 2011 that it will open between 275-300 stores serving the Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated food desert areas by 2016. These stores, in both urban and rural areas, will provide access to groceries for more than 800,000 people living in food deserts.   What is a "food desert"?  A food desert is any area in the industrialized world where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. Food deserts are prevalent in rural as well as urban areas and are most prevalent in low-socioeconomic minority communities. They are associated with a variety of diet-related health problems. Food deserts are also linked with supermarket shortage.  Sound familiar?  It does to me.  Still anti Walmart?

By opening stores where customers need them most, Walmart will help build healthier families and stronger communities. "We believe every single person should have access to an abundant selection of fresh fruits and vegetables at an affordable price,” said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Walmart.

Many areas classified as food deserts are also job deserts. More than 40,000 associates will work in these stores once they are open. These full- and part-time jobs will provide competitive wages and the opportunity to build a career with the company.

We protest so much about "corporate" Walmart coming into our town but we never look at what this company CAN do for our community, especially regarding healthy and nutritious foods.  If you build it, they will come, in droves.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ericka July 20, 2012 at 06:04 PM
What I shared isn't a blog post. It's a report from February of this year, complete with citations - not just opinions. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 06:12 PM
These aren't my "own facts" my dear ;) They are Michele Obama's, Walmart's, & The American Heart Association facts should you wish to check you can go to Walmartstores/nutrition.com
Ericka July 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM
What you wrote is a press release, copied word for word from Walmart. And you refer me to Walmart for more "facts" - the report I recommend you read, which I doubt you did, illustrates the facts around what Walmart considers organic (e.g. Rice Krispie treats without high fructose corn syrup) and what they consider local (within a state, not within a city, county, or region). Please also note that while you extol the virtues of Walmart for entering "food deserts", the report explains: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “food desert” not simply as a lower-income area with no access to fresh food, but as an area without access to a supermarket or large grocery store. A supermarket is defined as a retailer with annual sales of $2 million, and it must contain all the traditional major food departments, including fresh meat and produce, dairy products, dry and packaged goods, and frozen foods. This requirement can generally be met only by large national grocery chains." I've already read and seen what Walmart has to say. Why don't you try looking outside of their website for more information?
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Thanks Erika but I don't buy rice crispy treats for my children anyway. I don't let them eat high fructose corn syrup (btw if you did your research would find that it's not deadly anyway) My facts are just that, facts and I'm so sorry if you don't believe them. Not only are they on walmart's website but they are on Michele Obama's new food plate website which I also did a blog about in the past and they are on the American Heart Association's website. You can choose to believe what you want as well but I don't need to go to a website for FACTS, I chose to do that for all of the non-believer's. I go to Walmart and shop that's how I know about the facts, you should try it sometime, you'll like it ;)
Otis July 20, 2012 at 06:36 PM
This seems to be all about food (the WalMart not this nutrition blog) and what if I want to go there and buy, let's say, a wrench? It actually might give me a reason to drive west of Lake. Just saying can we stop the arguments and get on with it? When is the WalMart scheduled to open?
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Not sure Otis but I can't wait for it to be opened. Me and about 30 plus more of my friends who wish to be able to afford to buy their monthly necessities on a budget. BTW most Walmarts never run out of stock like certain local stores and are open later into the night when you actually might need something.
Ericka July 20, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Lisa, it's pretty clear you have a low reading comprehension or absorption, given that you can't even spell my name correctly. Going to Walmart to shop is a choice, and the feelings you have about shopping there are subjective opinions. Research with citations drawn from economic studies are facts. It's your choice to go to Walmart and feed yourself and your family whatever you like. Based on facts and research, I believe Walmart is not a good choice for Altadena or my family.
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 06:49 PM
hmmmm Erika, maybe I did it on purpose? Maybe you didn't go to college, graduate high school or have a good reading comp re what? So sorry you have to resort in character assassination to feel better about your position and justify it in some way. It all comes down to ignorance I guess erica. Don't shop there if you don't want to, no one is forcing you my dear.
Otis July 20, 2012 at 06:56 PM
@Ericka - your disengenous comments about Lisa invalidate the rest of your post IMO. Why should I go on reading when you start a post with an antogonizing comment about a fellow neighbor? I don't know Lisa Mairana, have never met her, but she seems to have a good head on her shoulders and blogged to give us her expert opioion based on her credentials as a nutritionist. I've read all the opinions, all the independent studies, facts, and figures. I can't get in to a lengthy "qualification statement" other than to say the good certainly seems to outweigh the bad in this situation. I hope, as many do, the project moves forward so we have a new shopping option as opposed to always having to drive out of town to access these kinds of stores.
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Thank you for the voice of reason Otis ;)
Ericka July 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Please. Lisa has called people "high and mighty" because they don't like Walmart, among other negative comments around this site. The fact is, she refuses to read anything other than Walmart's public statements to support her opinion and then dismisses anything anyone else says. I'm sure other people will read the research, so I'm not really concerned that two people who obviously want the Walmart (as is your right) won't. As I said, I've read the research based on facts and the pr from Walmart. I'll take the facts. And Lisa, "my dear," no one brought up your education but you. I really don't care what level of education you have or don't have. What bothers me is that you don't seem to be able to grasp the difference between public relations puff pieces put out by a company and facts backed up by research. That indicates a failure of basic reading comprehension.
Lisa Hastings July 20, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Lisa Maiorana is tired of driving to Duarte to do her Walmart shopping.
Angela Odom July 20, 2012 at 08:06 PM
The definition of food desert is rather ambiguous as it seems not take into consideration what are termed "ethnic markets" -- Super King, Baja Fresh and Poncitlan Meat Market. Though we may see them as viable grocery stores, they are really not considered, unfortunately. Assuming, arguendo, that Ralphs is considered the only true supermarket in the area, the other three stores fall off the map. As noted in a prior post, I really can't buy into many studies because I've seen them used for and against everything. Aspartame comes to mind with voluminous peer-reviewed studies both for and against the product. When you dig deeper behind the veil of those studies you will either find special interest groups (often backed by competitors) or corporations behind those studies, which, effectively cancel the other out. I have a planned trip to Chicago and will go into a Walmart Neighborhood Market to see for myself. Currently, I am listening to what friends have said about the stores they frequent in both Chicago and New York. Bottom line, there is a lot of lying taking place in the grocery retail market. Though Walmart claims to be the low cost alternative, fact is it may not be for all things. With a Walmart in the area there will be no guarantee the products you see in that store will be lower priced than Ralphs, Vons or any other store nearby. We will still have to shop around, which is what I do now anyway.
navigio July 20, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Ok, one more comment then I'll probably stop reading patch altogether.. at least until it posts another story about education. Like hey, how about the huge budget cuts? And a shorter school year anyone? The cost of day care to address a shorter school year if it comes will make more people 'need' a WM.. Anyway.. The opinion of one person does not matter for public policy. The reason someone with an opinion speaks out, is because policy can only be implemented through some kind of consensus. In other words, people need to convince other people of their point of view in order for the sharing of that to be useful. (there are probably other reasons to share one's opinion, but probably not relevant for this particular issue). Being rude, condescending and calling people names will convince no one. In fact, it will do just the opposite, imho. In addition, in a discussion, you will convince NO ONE of ANYTHING without addressing the other side's concerns, regardless of how loudly you state your own opinions. So to the extent anyone desires to be 'productive', I'd suggesting trying to find another way to 'communicate'. Just my opinion. :-) Have fun. I'm going to work on my heat stroke.
terry Morris July 20, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Don't leave Navigo !! We need all the reason and logic we can get! You really add a lot to the tenor of the discussion.
Cassandra Morris July 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Hi everyone, Just wanted to let you know that I posted info about a screening of the documentary "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price" that will take place Saturday in Altadena. More info here: http://patch.com/A-wpJ9
Lisa Hastings July 20, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Otis, if you read the comments carefully, you will see that Ericka was presenting facts and Lisa responded to those facts with snippy sarcastic remarks: "When you go into a Walmart (God forbid) and look at the produce there, then tell me that, otherwise, I know what the truth is." and the sarcastic "my dear ;)" and "no one is forcing you my dear." Also, Lisa's opinion about Walmart is no more "expert" than anyone else's. ...
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Yep, just as I expected....keep it comin' ;)
Stephanie Lo Surdo Pugliese July 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Ok, lets agree to disagree at times. Lisa always writes with the best intentions and is very empathetic to the needs of families. We can only ever be responsible for what we write or say. Not for how people interpret it.
Lisa Maiorana July 22, 2012 at 07:33 AM
Thanks Steph!
Sequoya July 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Wait, is this a nutrition piece or a Walmart advertisement? Most of what Lisa wrote is a copied and pasted press release from Walmart's website. Also, I'm curious where Lisa got her personal nutritionist certification from and where one could see a copy of said certification.
Lisa Maiorana July 23, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Sequoya - been there done that, you're about two years too late to question my credentials hun ;) Love the comments though!
Sequoya July 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM
You either are or are not certified and have proof. Are we not allowed to inquire about such?
Daron Anderson July 24, 2012 at 03:41 AM
From a chef's point of view... Just eat dammit! Ok, there's more to it than that. Nutrition, and our bodies, WE control what we put into it. NOBODY else. Food consumption is all up to each and every one of us, and no one is force-feeding us, or forcing us to buy certain items or not. I've learned to eat what you like, and be happy. I'm not impressed by "certified organic" or "all natural grass fed..." I shop the perimeter, and buy aisle stuff second. I've thought about going to get a degree in nutrition, as you can get paid for that, and people will believe you. (Lisa, not discounting your credentials. You should see the wars that go on in a hospital - chefs vs registered dietitian..) I know how to eat balanced, and i eat the garbage when I want to. Moderation. Rarely sick, NEVER had a cavity, and I enjoy what I eat. I have watched my stepmother be so elite about whats natural, whole, and get worried about agendas of who knows what. Guess who always tends to "be feeling under the weather"...
Lisa Maiorana July 24, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Thank you Daron, you always have a very well rounded way of looking at things. I appreciate it ;)
Daron Anderson July 24, 2012 at 04:14 AM
You're welcome. Food can come to a lot of factors, and I think that the super-processed items are freaky. Hormel makes a food thickener that I was forced to use in a hospital that I worked at. I used to think, WTF is wrong here? I have carrotts, i can puree, and reduce them until they are the needed consistency. With nutrition, there are so many ways to look at one's diet. You have to determine what their numbers are, and do they have a goal? Height, Weight, Age, Activity, BMI, Allergies, RDA's but then RDA's applied to BMI. Calories burned / gained, HDL, LDL... there is a LOT to contend with. GMO's, HMO, PPO's and oh oh no's... There's always going to be something to protest, but we have a choice, and frankly, I don't have time to worry about what someone else eats. (except my son) If we really wanted to address a useless, processed grocery format, we should take a long look at Target... that is processed food 101.
Marge Nichols November 02, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Since when is Lincoln Ave in Altadena a "food desert?" With two well-patronized, privately owned grocery stores in the immediate vicinity chosen by Walmart, it's going to be all about small businesses fighting to keep their noses above water. And that's not to mention local small businesses that sell beauty supplies, gift cards, and pharmacies in the area. Want to see more empty storefronts? WM is the way to go.
Lisa Maiorana November 02, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Sorry Marge, it's coming whether you like it or not, that's what these small business owners can't seem to wrap their brains around. It's called growth, and Altadena needs it badly to survive along with good paying jobs and employment for our community, don't see too many small business owners being able to do that!
Lisa Hastings November 03, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I agree that the small business owners need to stay competitive in order to stay in business. However, the more I find out about Walmart and the industrial food production in our country, the more I am convinced that the corporate ownership and control of our food supply is bad for our health, bad for the environment, and bad for the economy. Specifically, corporate grocers rely upon factory farms and the industrialization of chicken, beef, and pork where animals are brutalized and fed unnatural diets of genetically engineered feed (GMO) necessitating routine treatment of unnecessary diseases with antibiotics and other drugs. Also, did you know that 94% of all corn and soy comes from GMO seeds which contributes to allergies and intestinal problems, especially in children? My solution is a solution many others have chosen. Pay now by buying organic and locally grown meat and produce by shopping the farmers markets, instead of paying later in high medical costs and in damages to the environment. And vote yes on Prop 37.
Lisa Hastings November 03, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Supporting local fruit, vegetable, and dairy/chicken farmers keeps our dollars in the local economy and helps family farmers. Again, it may cost more to do this but its either pay now or pay later. Also, some farmers markets accept EBT, such as the Altadena farmers market, which allows poorer families to purchase high quality foods without having to resort to factory farmed pesticide and GMO laden food from Walmart.

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