BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Walmart today launched a first-of-its-kind effort to help consumers across the U.S. save money on more-nutritious foods and ultimately, live longer, healthier lives. In partnership with HumanaVitality, a subsidiary of Humana, the effort represents the first national program where a major retailer and healthcare company have come together to incentivize people to eat better through savings on healthier foods. Beginning on Oct. 15, more than one million HumanaVitality members who shop at Walmart will be eligible for a new program which offers a five percent savings on products that qualify for Walmart's Great For You icon, including fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy.
Recent research* shows the struggle consumers face with purchasing healthier foods. In fact, one in four families report skipping healthy purchases often or always due to price. By collaborating with HumanaVitality to invest in healthier, affordable food, Walmart is directly addressing this issue and working to bring down the costs of healthcare in the U.S. This program continues an effort Walmart began in 2011 when it unveiled a commitment to make healthier food affordable and accessible with First Lady Michelle Obama. It is another example of how Walmart uses its size and scale to lead on big social issues that matter to Americans.
"Price is an important factor in incentivizing wellness in America. By offering affordable, healthier foods, we will help make our customers healthier and reduce costs to our healthcare system as a whole. This represents preventative care in its purest form," said John Agwunobi, M.D., president of health and wellness, Walmart U.S. "We want to be our customers' wellness destination – the retailer that provides them with affordable ways to fight for their health."
"We need innovative thinking and new partnerships to successfully address our country's alarming healthcare issues," said Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive officer of the William J. Clinton Foundation's Health Matters Initiative. "Walmart and HumanaVitality working together to help people make better decisions in the grocery aisle is a perfect example of how promoting healthier lifestyles can be a win for companies willing to explore new paths and, far more importantly, a great benefit for the health status of Americans."
Joe Woods, CEO of HumanaVitality, is equally committed to inspiring healthier behavior. "The 'Vitality HealthyFood' program with Walmart represents a new way we can decrease America's healthcare bill. In a recent survey of our members, 84 percent said that a savings program would motivate them to purchase healthier foods. We will be aggressively communicating this program to more than 600,000 hospitals and physicians, as well as 60,000 insurance brokers to ensure as many members as possible can benefit from it.
Developed in consultation with food and nutrition experts from the public and private sectors, as well as leading health organizations, Walmart's Great For You icon is a simple, easy-to-use tool designed to help customers quickly identify healthier food items at Walmart stores. Items with the Great For You icon must pass a rigorous, two-step nutrition criteria process. The icon is available in the produce section at Walmart stores and will begin to appear on packaged Great Value and Marketside items beginning this fall.
Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability, Walmart U.S., added: "Americans have told us they are trying to eat better and need help making healthier food choices. Our Great for You icon helps customers find those choices and this program represents a new model for how we can make those choices even more affordable. We will continue to make affordable healthier food a priority so American families don't have to choose between food that is good for them and food they can afford."
The "Vitality HealthyFood" program is available at all Walmart stores. After accepting Humana Vitality's terms and conditions at HumanaVitality.com or Humana.com, and taking a brief HumanaVitality Health Assessment, members will receive their "Vitality HealthyFood" card for five percent savings on items that qualify for the Great For You icon. When a member goes to Walmart for their grocery shopping, the five percent savings will be loaded as credits to each member's "Vitality HealthyFood" card within five business days for use on their next trip. Available initially to more than one million HumanaVitality members, the program will expand to additional members early next year.HumanaVitality members should check with their employer to verify its enrollment status in the "Vitality HealthyFood" program.
*"It's Dinnertime: A Report on Low-Income Families' Efforts to Plan, Shop for and Cook Healthy Meals," Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters: No Kid Hungry, December 2011.
About HumanaVitality HumanaVitality®, headquartered in Chicago, Ill., is a joint venture between Humana Inc. and Discovery Holdings, Ltd. Humana partnered with Discovery because of its 14 years of worldwide experience using behavioral, clinical and actuarial science to motivate individuals to make healthier choices. By integrating rewards with healthy behaviors, HumanaVitality provides the tools and support necessary to help Humana members live healthier lives and furthers Humana's Dream to Help People Achieve Lifelong Well-Being(SM).
HumanaVitality has more than 1.5 million members who are enhancing their health and wellness through a comprehensive integrated approach to lifestyle improvement. For more information about HumanaVitality, please visit the company's website at www.humanavitality.com. You can also find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/humanavitality, follow us on Twitter: @HumanaVitality, add us on Google+: HumanaVitality, and follow us on Instagram: @humanavitality.
About Humana Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a leading health-care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. By leveraging the strengths of its core businesses, Humana believes it can better explore opportunities for existing and emerging adjacencies in healthcare that can further enhance wellness opportunities for the millions of people across the nation with whom the company has relationships. More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company's web site at www.humana.com.