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Raley’s takes aim at added sugar in cereal

New placement strategy puts healthier items higher on shelves

Raley’s is turning the spotlight on better-for-you cereals — in the aisle.

Looking at the amount of added sugar versus calorie count and serving size, the West Sacramento, Calif.-based grocer is revamping the layout of the cold cereal section to give prime shelf placement to products with less added sugar.

Cereals with 25% or more of total calories from added sugar, based on a standard one-cup serving of cereal, will now be moved to the bottom shelf, Raley’s said Wednesday.

“Our team has thoughtfully developed a system to evaluate added sugar in cold cereals,” President and CEO Keith Knopf said in a statement. “We believe that, between education and product placement, we can help more customers identify and avoid added sugar.”

Raley’s said that, working with Label Insight, it developed a sugar filter equation to guide product placement on shelf. The formula uses the Nutrition Facts Label and one-cup serving size to assess total calories in relation to total added sugars.

Cold cereals identified as “Higher in Added Sugar” get blue labels on shelves while those found to be “Lower in Added Sugar” receive gold labels. The color-coded system appears on shelf tags and on “Trying to Cut Back on Sugar?” blade signs that Raley’s has affixed along the cereal aisle shelves to communicate the placement change to customers and raise awareness about added sugars in food.

Citing research from Nielsen, Raley’s reported that 22% of households are restricting sugar intake, and 52% are actively trying to avoid artificial sweeteners.

“Studies have shown that added sugars may contribute to a diet that is high in calories but low in essential nutrients,” according to Yvette Waters, nutrition strategist and brand influencer at Raley’s. “As the resident nutrition expert, I’m passionate about helping our customers find better-for-you options.”

In addition, Raley’s is providing customers with more transparency on added sugar in foods through animated videos and content marketing at Raley’s owner Mike Teel also recently launched “Minute with Mike Teel,” a video series focusing on the amount of added sugar in food products and the need for change in the industry.

Raley’s noted that it’s analyzing calories from added sugar in all processed foods and plans to expand to its efforts in cereal to more categories.

“We know that the changes in Raley’s stores can positively influence our customers’ choices,” Knopf added.

In September, Raley’s eliminated conventional candy from the checkout lanes, reducing the overall sugar offerings by 25%. A year earlier, the supermarket chain also launched the Raley’s Shelf Guide, a shelf tag program designed to provide shoppers with more label transparency on packaged foods as well as help them identify products that are minimally processed and nutrient-dense. And in 2015, Raley’s ended the sale of tobacco in all of its stores.

Overall, Raley’s operates 129 stores in California and Nevada under the Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods, Food Source and Market 5-ONE-5 banners.

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