WASHINGTON — Attention, Walmart shoppers: The food in your cart, from fruit drinks to salad dressing, may soon get healthier.
The nation's largest grocer said Thursday it will reformulate thousands of store-brand products to reduce sodium and sugar and push its suppliers to do the same.
It also promises to reduce prices on produce and build stores in poor areas that don't already have grocery stores.
First lady Michelle Obama said Wal-Mart's plans have "the potential to transform the marketplace and help Americans put healthier foods on their tables every single day." She lent star power to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives as they announced the effort in Washington as part of her campaign against obesity.
A number of food makers have made similar moves, lowering sodium in their products based on shopper demand and increasing scrutiny by health groups. Bumble Bee Foods, General Mills Inc., Campbell Soup Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. all announced sodium reductions to their products last year.
Wal-Mart's size, however, gives it unique power to shape what people eat. The grocery business of the nation's largest retailer accounts for about 15 percent of the indust