Leading Grocery Retailers Commit to Fight Childhood Obesity by Increasing Access to Healthy, Affordable Food for 10 Million Americans
Brown's Super Stores, Calhoun Enterprises, Klein's Family Markets, SUPERVALU, Walgreens, Walmart and The California Endowment's FreshWorks Fund Pledge to Expand Access
WASHINGTON, July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), together with First Lady Michelle Obama, announced today that leading grocery retailers have committed to bring healthy, affordable food to nearly 10 million people over the next five years in the form of new and expanded stores in areas that desperately need them.
Brown's Super Stores, Calhoun Enterprises, Klein's Family Markets, SUPERVALU, Walgreens and Walmart have committed to open or expand over 1,500 locations combined over the next five years in low-income areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and nutritious foods. The California Endowment, through their FreshWorksFund, has pledged to make $200 million in financing available to new, independent retail channels and innovative food distribution programs in California through financing and grants.
Currently, 23.5 million Americans live in low-income areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and nutritious foods. Of these 23.5 million, approximately 11.5 million are individuals living in households with incomes at or below the 200% poverty line, and 6.5 million are children. These new and expanded stores will provide nearly 10 million Americans with the ability to purchase fresh, nutritious foods close to home.
"The commitments we're announcing today have the potential to be a game-changer for kids and communities all across this country," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "We can give people all the information and advice in the world about healthy eating and exercise, but if parents can't buy the food they need to prepare those meals because their only options for groceries are the gas station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk. Let's Move! is about giving parents real choices about the food their kids are eating, and today's announcement means that more parents will have a fresh food retailer right in their community – a place that sells healthy food, at reasonable prices, so they can feed their families the way they want."
James R. Gavin III, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the PHA's board of directors, said, "For the 23 million people living without access to healthy, affordable foods, all the reasons in the world to eat healthy are practically moot. But now, with the companies who have joined us today, and with the visionary leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama, we will help make the healthy choice the easy choice.
"Perhaps most importantly, the leadership these companies have shown goes far beyond just a statement in a video and a press release. These companies have signed commitments with the Partnership for a Healthier America, and it will be part of the Partnership's task to report annually and publicly on each of the companies' progress – ensuring that the commitments made to build stores where people need them are met. And those commitments are a testament to each of the companies we have here today."
- Brown's Super Stores committed to build 1 store and expand 1 store, by 2016. The new store will be built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the expansion will also be in the area – both will serve a combined 150,000 individuals in low-access areas.
- Calhoun Enterprises committed to build 10 stores by 2016. These stores will be built in Alabama and Tennessee, and will serve a minimum of 10,000 individuals in low-access areas.
- Klein's Family Markets committed to build 1 ShopRite store by 2016. This store will be located in Baltimore, Maryland, and will serve 75,000 individuals in a low-access area.
- SUPERVALU committed to build 250 Save-A-Lot stores by 2016. The stores will be built nationwide, and will serve 3,750,000 individuals in low-access areas.
- Walgreens committed to expand a minimum of 1,000 stores by 2016. The stores will be built nationwide, and will serve 4,785,000 individuals in low-access areas.
- Walmart committed to build or expand 275-300 stores by 2016. The stores will be located nationwide, and will serve 800,000 individuals in low-access areas.
- The California Endowment's FreshWorksFund has committed to leading a coalition to help make $200 million in financing available to new, independent retail channels and innovative food distribution programs in California through a combination of financing and grants.
Every company that works with PHA is required to participate in an evaluation, and all the companies who made a commitment today have agreed to undergo an evaluation process with PHA that will be released to the public annually.
Walmart has committed to build or expand up to 300 new stores.
Leslie Dach, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at 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. First Lady Michelle Obama is helping millions of Americans lead healthier lives, and Walmart is proud to partner with her in this work. The First Lady's leadership on products, prices and access to healthier food has helped sharpen our focus on bringing affordable groceries to underserved urban and rural areas."
Calhouns Grocery has committed to build 10 new stores in Alabama and Tennessee.
Gregory Calhoun, CEO/President of Calhoun Foods: "It is with great humility that I accept First Lady Michelle Obama's invitation and challenge to help make sure everyone in this great country has access to healthy, affordable food. When I look at the fact that millions of Americans live every day without access to nutritious foods, I know that it not just a commitment, but an obligation, to create opportunities for families in rural and urban areas of America. Let's Move! is a befitting name to get everyone moving in the right direction and over the next 5 years Calhoun Foods will open 10 stores in these underserved markets in Alabama and Tennessee. Once again it is a great honor to be in a position to be able to provide jobs, healthy foods, and opportunities. So I say, 'LET'S MOVE!'"
SUPERVALU has committed to building 250 new stores.
Craig Herkert, Chief Executive Officer and President, SUPERVALU: "We applaud the work the First Lady and the Partnership for a Healthier America are doing to raise awareness and to address the issue of childhood obesity and we are honored to be a part of the solution. I am very proud that our company and our associates are committed to growing our Save-A-Lot business, helping to bring healthier food options to underserved communities throughout the country, and truly making a difference in lives of Americans everywhere."
Brown's SuperStores – Committed to building one new supermarket in Philadelphia and expanding one existing store in Chelthenham, PA.
Jeffrey Brown, President and CEO and Brown's SuperStores: "It is incredible to see how the dedication and leadership of the First Lady is having such a significant impact on our children's future by enabling them to live longer and healthier lives as a result of this program."
Klein's Family Markets – Committed to opening one new store in Baltimore, MD.
Marshall Klein, President and CEO of Klein's Family Markets: "Access to fresh food has been a silent problem for years. It is one of the single largest factors determining family health and the Klein family is excited to be a part of the effort in helping to make a difference."
Walgreens – Committed to expanding their food offering to include whole fruits and vegetables, and other healthy options in approximately 1,000 stores.
Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson: "With more than 45 percent of our stores located in areas that don't have access to fresh food, Walgreens is uniquely positioned to bring more food options to Americans and also provide needed pharmacy, health and wellness services directly in those communities. Joining with the Partnership for a Healthier America, we plan to convert or open at least 1,000 food oasis stores across the country over the next five years."
California FreshWorks Fund – Secured $200 million to promote healthy food retailing in California.
Robert K Ross, M.D., President and CEO of The California Endowment: "Health happens in our neighborhoods. Families can't eat healthier food if they can't buy it where they live. The sheer number of banks and other investors involved proves that this is not only the right thing to do to improve the health of our communities, but it's financially attractive. The more than a dozen partners who made it happen should be congratulated for their vision and collaboration."
About the Partnership for a Healthier America
The Partnership for a Healthier America is an independent, nonpartisan organization that will mobilize broad-based support for efforts to solve the childhood obesity challenge. Core activities of the Partnership with include:
- Developing a strong membership network of leaders across sectors with commitment to scaling meaningful and measurable solutions;
- Convening members annually to affirm, align, and announce commitments;
- Promoting broad understanding among all sectors about the role healthy food, physical activity, and the environment play in reversing the childhood obesity epidemic;
- Facilitating and measuring the impact of members' commitments against clear and transparent targets; and
- Connecting potential partners in the private and nonprofit sectors to each other and to the correct points of contact in government to ensure efficient leveraging of actions, and sharing of knowledge and lessons learned at the community, state, and national levels.
The Partnership emerged out of a series of conversations between The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Nemours, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which is a partnership with the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. SNR Denton LLP has provided valuable pro-bono operational and legal support in establishing the Foundation. The Brookings Institution has also contributed thought leadership to the effort.
For more information about the Partnership for a Healthier America, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
SOURCE Partnership for a Healthier America