Supervalu® Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Save-A-Lot® Food Stores today joined First Lady Michelle Obama in announcing that it has reached a memorandum of understanding with the Partnership for a Healthier America that outlines Supervalu’s commitment to open 250 new Save-A-Lot stores over the next five years in and around neighborhoods with limited or no immediate access to healthier foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and meat—areas known as food deserts. The new stores will ultimately provide approximately 3.75 million people each week with healthier, affordable food options and, at the same time, create more than 6,000 new jobs in these communities.
“We applaud the work The First Lady and the Partnership for a Healthier America are doing to raise awareness and address the issue of childhood obesity, and we are honored to be a part of the solution,” said Craig Herkert, CEO and president, Supervalu, in a press release. “Through our Save-A-Lot format, we can help to bring the healthier, high-quality food options and value pricing currently needed to many communities across America.”
Data suggests that there are more than 23 million people, including more than 6 million children alone, living in food deserts in the United States—in areas ranging from urban to rural, and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity has identified eliminating food deserts as a key objective in helping achieve its goal of curbing childhood obesity within a generation.
Save-A-Lot is uniquely positioned to help address the food desert issue as its stores feature a limited assortment of high-quality foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy, at savings of up to 40 percent, compared with traditional grocery stores. Today’s agreement means that a portion of the new Save-A-Lot stores Supervalu is planning to build as part of its previously announced strategy to expand Save-A-Lot to more than 2,400 locations by 2015 will be targeted for food deserts.
The announcement was made today during a ceremony at the White Housethat included First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jim Gavin with the Partnership for a Healthier America. Attending the meeting on behalf of SUPERVALU were Chief Executive Officer and President Craig Herkert and Shannon King, store manager at the Save-A-Lot store in Hyattsville, Md.
In addition to providing communities with access to healthier food, Supervalu’s plan to expand Save-A-Lot to more than 2,400 locations by 2015 is expected to create an estimated 30,000 new jobs and support the growth of more small businesses. Of the nearly 1,300 current Save-A-Lot stores, nearly 900 stores are owned and operated by licensees—many of them small family-owned businesses.