SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Hannaford Bros. has released the first-year results of its Guiding Stars program, which rates the nutritional content of more than 25,000 food products using a scale of zero to three stars, with three indicating the most nutritious items. According to the company, the ratings, which appear on product labels, help steer customers to the healthful products they desire, thus increasing sales of better-for-you options. Packaged foods saw the greatest increase, with products that had one, two or three stars selling at 2½ times the rate of those that had no stars. Starred meat and poultry also grew 2½ times faster than selections without stars, and starred cereal sold at a rate of 3½ times more than cereal with zero stars. Stars are assigned based on a formula that credits healthy ingredients like vitamins and whole grains, and detracts for the likes of trans fats and added sugars. "These first-year results indicate to us that we're definitely on the right track in offering our customers a useful tool that can help improve their shopping time with us," said Hannaford spokeswoman Caren Epstein. In addition, Hannaford conducted a survey that showed 81 percent of customers were aware of the Guiding Stars program, with half these people saying they followed the system "fairly often."
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