Supermarkets Integrate Health Facts In Stores
In an effort to help their customers embrace healthier nutrition and lifestyles, many supermarket chains, supported by Better-For-You brand manufacturers, are integrating in nutrition scoring campaigns for products in their stores. It’s just another example of how health and well-being awareness is become more prevalent in our society as helpful, simple-to-use educational information is being utilized to direct customer purchases, preferences and behaviors. Here’s an overview on the two leading nutritional scoring systems.
The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program contains over 85,000 rated food items and recipes. Designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health, and recently granted a U.S. Patent, the Guiding Stars algorithm credits good attributes (vitamins, minerals, fiber, whole grains) and debits bad ones (saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sodium, added sugars) to determine which foods will garner one (good), two (better), or three (best) stars. The more nutritional value a food has, the more Guiding Stars it receives.
And how has the Guiding Stars program affected the customer’s behavior in-store? According to a study published recent by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Guiding Stars program has had a positive influence on food purchasing decisions after the implementation of the zero-to-three star rating system and that these changes continue to be significant in achieving healthier food choices in the supermarket. Their conclusion: Increasing rates of obesity and declining diet quality for Americans strongly support the need for effective supermarket point-of-purchase programs, such as the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program, that provide clear, concise, and simplified nutrition information to guide shoppers’ food and beverage choices.
Developed by an independent panel of nutrition and medical experts, the NuVal System helps shoppers see – at a glance – the nutritional value of the food you buy. How?
NuVal Scores summarize comprehensive nutritional information in one simple number between 1 and 100. Each NuVal Score takes into account more than just the nutrition fact panel. It considers 30-plus nutrients and nutrition factors – the good (protein, calcium, vitamins) and the not-so-good (sugar, sodium, cholesterol). The higher the NuVal Score, the better the nutrition.
The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System is powered by the Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI), a patent-pending algorithm for measuring the nutritional quality of foods and beverages based on the influence they have on overall dietary goals.
Developed by a team of leading nutrition, public health, and medical experts, the ONQI algorithm uses the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs – quantitative reference values for recommended intakes of nutrients) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to quantify the presence of more than 30 nutrients – including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants; sugar, salt, trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. The system also incorporates measures for the quality of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as calories and omega-3 fats. The NuVal System also takes into account how these nutrients influence health based on broadly accepted, published scientific literature.
The NuVal System takes into account other key factors that measure the quality and density of nutrients, as well as the strength of their association with specific health conditions. For example, trans fat has a very strong association with heart disease, a highly prevalent and serious condition. Therefore, the NuVal™ System assigns a “weighting coefficient” to trans fat that substantially lowers the Score of foods containing it. Those weighting coefficients are determined by the prevalence, severity, and strength of association with health conditions.
Nutrients for inclusion in the NuVal System were selected based on their established relevance to public health as reported and published by the scientific community.
Other National Grocers Produce Their Own Systems
Supermarket chains like Safeway and Publix in the southeastern U.S. have chosen to go solo, and while, not as comprehensive at Guiding Stars or NuVal, are making progress in advising their own customer’s needs. For instance, in the case of Safeway’s Simple Nutrition program, there are 22 benefit messages including messages for lifestyle/dietary needs and specific nutrition or ingredient criteria.