Walmart has unveiled a plan to provide healthier food choices at reduced prices, setting specific targets for lowering sodium, trans fats and added sugars in thousands of packaged foods by 2015. Joined by first lady Michelle Obama at an event in Washington, D.C., the major grocer outlined key elements of the initiative that built on her “Let’s Move” campaign to make healthy choices more convenient and affordable.

The initiative includes (i) reducing sodium by 25 percent in grain products, luncheon meats, salad dressings, and frozen entrees; (ii) reducing added sugars by 10 percent in dairy items, sauces and fruit drinks; (iii) removing “all remaining industrially produced trans fats” in packaged foods; (iv) making healthier choices more affordable through a “variety of sourcing, pricing and transportation and logistics initiatives”; (v) developing “strong criteria for a simple front-of-package seal” to identify “truly healthier food options”; (vi) “providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores in underserved communities”; and (vii) “increasing charitable support through nutrition programs.”

“With more than 140 million customer visits each week, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a difference by making food healthier and more affordable to everyone,” Walmart U.S. President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Simon said in a statement. “We are committed to working with suppliers, government and non-governmental organizations to provide solutions that help Americans eat healthier and live a better life.” See Walmart Press Release, January 20, 2011.