Analyst: Bottom line meets higher purpose in Wal-Mart's healthy food initiative

Feb 17, 2011

Giant retailer's healthy foods drive has two aims

While there was likely an element of social responsibility involved in retail giant Wal-Mart's decision to provide healthy grocery options, Atlantic Monthly writer Hank Cardello says the chain's profits are likely to benefit as well.

Given the company's outsized reach, Cardello writes, the presence of healthier grocery products on its shelves is likely to have a significant impact on the eating habits of Americans. Additionally, Wal-Mart's interests are served by helping their consumers stay healthy.

From a purely business perspective, too, the company stands to do very well with its new initiative, according to Cardello. Being able to supply so-called "food deserts" in poorer urban areas, where no grocery stores are available, will help Wal-Mart overcome bitter and long-standing resistance to its locations in big cities, providing a whole new market.

Also, Cardello says, partially rebranding the company's products as "healthy" as well as "cheap" will only help sales in the long term.

Increased availability of healthy options could lead to a healthier overall diet for Americans, indirectly improving health and life insurance rates, according to other experts.

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