Walmart's Green Thumb

Corby Kummer had foodies do a blind taste-test of food from Walmart and Whole Foods. Walmart held its own, especially in the produce department. Balko looks at research suggesting Walmart helps combat obesity:

“We expected the study to show an increase in obesity in communities with a Wal-Mart,” [economist Art ] Carden says. “We know that Wal-Mart lowers the cost of food, but we figured it’s not always the best food for you.” To their surprise, they found the oppositethere was a small but statistically significant reduction in obesity rates in communities with a Wal-Mart, perhaps because the store also sells fresh produce of good quality at a good price.

Broadening the study to big-box stores in general, the effect was even more pronounced. “People actually bought more produce, more fruits and vegetables,” Carden says. “Instead of just eating more, they ate a higher-quality dieta lower-fat diet than the rest of the population.”