For more than a decade, The Consumer Good’s Forum (CGF)’s work on health and wellbeing has been driven by a desire to provide consumers with products, solutions, services, and transparent understandable information that empower them to make decisions for a healthy and sustainable diet and healthy life. As part of this ambition, and since the launch of the Collaboration for Healthier Lives (CHL) Coalition, its work has centered around ensuring access and affordability of healthier options.

CHL USA, a regional initiative within the Coalition, is looking to test and scale efforts to help customers make healthier choices at retail. We want to position retail as the trusted go-to destination for consumer health and wellness by nudging consumers towards healthier habits, products, and services. Walmart is collaborating with ten suppliers who are participating in store demos, a fruit and vegetable incentive programme and community events, in Chicago to improve the health and wellbeing of their shoppers and bridge the health disparity gap within Chicagoland through increased engagement and empowerment. 

As Co-Chairs of CHL USA, PepsiCo and Walmart are delighted to be leading this collective effort to support consumer health and wellbeing and to improve the health of communities, especially those considered the most vulnerable, in Chicago.

We have four clear objectives:

  1. Remove barriers making it easier for customers to make healthier choices 
  2. Improve health behaviours for the target audience 
  3. Make the healthier choice the easier choice
  4. Drive shared value among CHL participants

Why Chicago?

Chicago will serve as the launching pad for the retailer scaling programme, given its metropolitan market and history of health and racial disparities. Chicago celebrates a diverse population, comprised of White (42%), Black (23%), and Hispanic (26%) demographic groups. However, Chicago has been recognised as one of the most segregated cities in the US, with health outcomes among demographic groups far from equal. 

For example, of Chicago’s 42 hospitals, only nine are in the city’s southern half, which has historically been home to minority and low-income populations. Chicago also has the largest life expectancy gap of any big American city, which is largely driven by race. The life expectancy of the affluent Steeterville neighbourhood on the North Side of Chicago, for example, is 90 years, but life expectancy plummets to 60 years just nine miles south in Englewood. (Source: NYU Langone Health, Becker’s Hospital Review)

This is where we, as consumer goods businesses with enormous reach and access can play a unique role. Walmart has committed to partner with local organisations to support community-based efforts in Chicago and already has a significant presence in the market, including 10 stores, the national Walmart Wellness Hub, live on, providing 24/7 access to wellness resources and two Walmart Health Centers located conveniently next to where people do their shopping.

We believe that by working together we can have a positive impact and begin to move the needle by providing the much-needed support for customers and vulnerable communities across Chicago.

How Do We Do It?

In short, Walmart already has existing health and wellness initiatives, a large network of retail locations and a large customer base. Through collaboration with other CGF members, particularly the committed food and non-food manufacturers who are part of the CHL Coalition, we believe we can have the reach, product choices, and impact needed to create a sustainable solution for positive health outcomes that works for our businesses and our customers.

To focus our actions, we have also created a framework (see below) that ensures we are driving community outreach and engagement, in-store and online activations, and affordability mechanisms (i.e. Financial Incentives). Through this framework, we believe we are well-placed to leverage retailer scale, engage with customers, and help address the needs of consumers through weekly wellness demos, wellness day focused on pregnant women, mobile wellness trucks, community events and back to school immunisation wellness day.

We will also deep dive into the behaviours driving health and wellness – like nutrition, hydration, oral health, etc. – and the barriers to behaviour adoption – like affordability, access and friction.

It’s not just about our industry however; we regularly collaborate with community organisations, public health authorities, and academia. Through close collaborations and public-private partnerships, we will ensure our actions are supported by local leaders and public health authorities and evaluated by academia. We will then, of course, share our learnings with all stakeholders. We will continue to build on our learnings from our initial work in Washington County to progress our collective impact on healthier lives in the USA.

We’d also like to thank CGF member Oliver Wyman for their ongoing, pro-bono support in-line with their social impact mission.

We will go live in June 2022, so watch this space for more information coming soon.