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First Lady Helps Fight Windy City Food Deserts

Supervalu Inc. and its Save-A-Lot subsidiary reiterated their commitment to helping eliminate food deserts nationally at a Tuesday event in Chicago with First Lady Michelle Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Outlining a number of initiatives underway to help address childhood obesity, Supervalu also used the occasion to announce the opening of a new Save-A-Lot store in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood by the end of November, bringing the total number of the hard discounter’s Chicago-area stores to 14.

“Supervalu and its network of stores are committed to bringing healthy, affordable food offerings to customers here in Chicago and throughout the United States,” said Craig Herkert, Supervalu CEO and president. “We appreciate the tremendous leadership shown by First Lady Michelle Obama and Mayor Emanuel to address this important issue.

Herkert continued: “In addition to food access and affordability, we are taking steps to help consumers make the best food choices possible for themselves and their families. According to research, nearly 80 percent of customers say they need help and advice around planning, shopping, cooking and preparing food. As a leading grocery retailer, we’re ideally positioned to help them by providing the programs, resources and tools they need to achieve a healthy diet.”

In July, as part of an agreement with the Partnership for a Healthier America, Supervalu announced plans to open 250 new Save-A-Lot stores in areas across the United States where there is limited or no access to affordable, healthy, fresh foods. Since then, the Minneapolis-based grocer has opened 14 new Save-A-Lot stores in food deserts throughout the country.

Through Supervalu’s network of stores – which includes Save-A-Lot and Jewel-Osco in Chicago, as well as Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy in other markets across the country – the company is undertaking a number of initiatives to make it easier for its customers to eat well.

In Chicago, Save-A-Lot is supporting the Centers for NewHorizons’ Healthy Horizons Program, which aims to help youth and their families in the Bronzeville community eat healthy and incorporate daily exercise. Save-A-Lot also is working with the University of Chicago on a seven-year research project, “Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago.”

At Jewel-Osco, the company recently reduced its prices on produce, in part to encourage shoppers to incorporate more fresh food into their meals. The company also trained employees to educate shoppers on how to choose produce. This “Fresh Produce, Fresh Prices” initiative is rolling out to Supervalu’s other traditional grocery stores during the next several months.

Supervalu’s traditional grocery stores – including Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Acme, Cub Foods and Shaw’s – also are implementing a new “Kids Club Card” program. Children are given a free apple or banana when they present their Kids Club cards on each visit to the store.

Supervalu Inc. operates about 4,300 stores composed of 1,106 traditional retail stores, including 800 in-store pharmacies; 1,294 hard-discount stores, of which 915 are operated by licensee owners; and 1,900 independent stores serviced primarily by the company’s traditional food distribution business.

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