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Asda Launches Budget Produce Line

LEEDS, United Kingdom -- In an unusual move, Asda, the U.K. grocer owned by Wal-Mart, is lowering prices on selected fruits and vegetables in an effort to make healthy fare more affordable for budget-conscious shoppers.

The 'Smartprice' value line of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, launched earlier this week, is part of a new health promotion campaign Asda introduced at the beginning of the month. The deals include 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of bananas for 65 pence ($1.21), four oranges for 58 pence ($1.09), and a melon for 78 pence ($1.46).

The supermarket chain is initially introducing 12 products into the Smartprice line with more set to follow in the coming months. In a statement, Asda said the line allows it to reduce prices for customers, and also use a greater proportion of its growers' crops by taking advantage of more flexible product specifications. For instance, Smartprice oranges are the same variety as standard Asda brand oranges, but are smaller in diameter.

Angela Spindler, Asda's trading and marketing director, said: "We're committed to making it easier for our customers to lead a healthy life. Our Smartprice produce range will enable millions of customers, who are on a tight budget, to buy top quality fruit and vegetables at the lowest possible prices."

Other elements of Asda's health campaign include TV advertising, reformulated Smartprice private label products, and more than $31 million worth of price cuts on Asda's Good For You! healthy range of products; plus price cuts on national "healthy" brands like Evian water and Weight Watchers ready-made meals.

This month Asda is offering 110,000 free health checks by qualified nurses in its 274 stores throughout Britain. Trained nutritionists will also be on hand, during what has been dubbed "the healthiest month in British retail history," to offer customers healthy eating tips.
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