Over the past several years, two parallel trends have been reshaping the supermarket industry.
One is the declining health of the nation, evidenced by growing rates of obesity among both children and adults, as well as almost epidemic levels of diabetes, among other health concerns. Complicating the picture is the aging of the population — especially the massive Baby Boomer segment — along with the ever-rising cost of health care and the raging political debates about how to pay for it all.
Accompanying these health alarms is the proliferation of products in the supermarket as manufacturers and retailers seek to gain competitive advantage and satisfy consumer demand.
Increasingly concerned about their health, yet faced with a dizzying array of merchandise, consumers are asking for help in selecting healthier products. They do get some direction from product packaging, especially the Nutrition Facts panel on the back or side of most edible products, which will be supplemented over the next few years by Nutrition Keys on the front of packaging. Manufacturers also tout nutritional benefits on packaging, and the federal government chips in with dietary guidelines.
But all this information has apparently not alleviated — and may have even exacerbated — the confusion felt by shoppers seeking healthier choices. As a result, numerous food retailers have responded by rolling out nutritional guidance labeling programs of various kinds that promise to provide nutritional clarity at the shelf's edge — a way for shoppers to readily select the products best suited to their health needs and nutritional preferences.
“Our shoppers told us they wanted to do the right thing but were confused by all the claims on packaging, and weren't sure their diet was healthy,” said Julie Greene, director of healthy living for Hannaford Bros., Scarborough, Maine, a division of Delhaize America. “So we came up with a way to make it very simple to identify products with more positives than negatives when it comes to nutrition.” Hannaford launched the first major retailer labeling program, Guiding Stars, in 2006.
According to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2011, the Food Marketing Institute's annual industry survey, 48.5% of retailer respondents said they have implemented a nutritional labeling guidance program. That's almost twice as many respondents (26.2%) who said they used the programs in the 2010 report. Another 14.7% in the 2011 survey said they are working on implementing a program.
Since 2006, Delhaize USA has rolled out Guiding Stars to its other U.S. chains, including Food Lion, Sweetbay and Bloom. Delhaize has also been marketing the Guiding Stars program since 2009 to other retailers, signing up Homeland, Kings Super Markets and Marsh. In 2008, NuVal, Braintree, Mass., introduced its product scoring system, which is now used in 1,030 supermarkets, including stores run by Price Chopper Supermarkets, Tops Friendly Markets, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Big Y, Skogen's Festival Foods, K-VA-T Food Stores and United Supermarkets.
A number of chains have rolled out nutrition labeling programs that highlight specific nutritional elements, based on a database supplied by Vestcom, Little Rock, Ark. These include Supervalu's Nutrition iQ and Bashas' Eat Smart.
Other retailer programs include Bi-Lo's Thrive!, Stop & Shop's Healthy Ideas, Safeway's SimpleNutrition, Rosauers Supermarkets' Blue is Better and Whole Foods Market's Health Starts Here.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Results from FMI's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2011 report suggest that retailers' nutritional labeling programs are making a difference: Two-thirds of consumer respondents said they use the programs either frequently or occasionally, and 7% said they use them each time they shop, to select healthier foods. In addition, 30% completely understand the programs and 63% understand them somewhat.
Among users, 42% apply the programs only to finding healthier selections among new items, the rest applying it to regular purchases alone (7%) or both regular and new items (51%). Perhaps most importantly, 43% said they absolutely make healthier choices now than before using the programs and 36% said they maybe make more healthful choices now.
Among retailers offering a program, 54.8% said it is influencing consumer choices at least “somewhat,” while 9.7% said it is influencing choices “a lot,” according to the Speaks report.
Not everyone regards nutritional information programs in a positive light. “These methods make sense if you think a slightly healthier junk food is a good choice for health,” said Marion Nestle, professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “I don't.” She views them as “entirely about marketing.”
But other nutrition experts see value in the retailer programs. “All the technical nutrition details can become information overload to consumers,” said Lauren Swann, a registered dietitian and nutrition marketing communication strategist based in Bensalem, Pa., who is an unpaid advisor to NuVal and has been a paid consultant for Nutrition iQ. “They need a quick hit, with concise information. The retailer and front-of-package programs are a way to capture the most important basics for them. I think that's helpful.”
Retailers, Swann added, “want to genuinely play a role in achieving public health goals.” And by addressing consumers' multitude of questions about diet and health, they become more attractive to shoppers. “I don't think retailers are necessarily seeing this as a profit driver,” she said. “But it fits into their business model.”
But Swann would like improvements in the labeling programs. For example, she believes more of them should incorporate nutrient density per calorie, rather than simply focusing on controlling calories, fat, sodium and other negative factors. Bill Bishop, chairman of Willard Bishop LLC, Barrington, Ill., observed that the current systems have not sufficiently reflected the impact of nutrients like phytochemicals, which can significantly impact health outcomes.
Swann also professed to being mystified at times by the rating and ranking programs. “How does something as wholesome as an egg end up not being as good as a diet lemonade?” she asked. And she sometimes sees inconsistencies between how systems like NuVal and Guiding Stars rate a product. “There needs to be a more consistent playing field,” she said, “so people can see these things all in the same perspective.”
To that end, Swann thinks regulation of rating systems by the Food and Drug Administration is needed. While the FDA regulates retail shelf labeling claims like low sodium or heart healthy as it does for labels and claims on packaging, the agency does not currently regulate shelf tags with scores or ratings. But this regulation could be coming, she noted, pointing out that in April 2010 the FDA announced it was seeking comment and information on both front-of-package labeling and shelf-tag symbols.
The retail labeling programs have also raised questions about whether manufacturers are influencing what labels say about their products — either directly or as a result of retailers not wanting to offend their suppliers.
When retailer nutritional guidance programs first emerged, manufacturers were “concerned about any information that would work to the disadvantage of their products,” Bishop said. However, not being able to get enough retailers together to have a “collective discussion” about the programs, manufacturers shifted to developing the front-of-package Nutrition Keys program, he said. “If nutrition information is more prominent in the store, front-of-package programs give them a chance to put it in the context they want to have it in.”
Retailers using the programs insist they get little pushback from manufacturers and when they do they are able to address it satisfactorily. “When the programs started there might have been a little influence there, but I don't think that's what's driving them now,” said Swann. Moreover, many large CPG firms like General Mills and PepsiCo have made a concerted effort to come out with more nutrient-rich products, she noted.
In this analysis of the nutritional labeling arena, SN looks further at four of the programs: Guiding Stars, NuVal, Supervalu's Nutrition iQ and Bashas' Eat Smart.
In an effort to make the nutritional evaluation relatively simple, the Guiding Stars program rates every five-calories-or-more product with no stars, one star (good), two stars (better) or three stars (best) alongside of the price on shelf labels. Between 24% and 26% of items get one or more stars. “It's based on research that shows that shoppers want to know which products have more positive than negative [nutritional qualities],” said Greene. Guiding Stars, she added, is clear about when a product crosses the threshold into being “good” in terms of nutrition.
The positive product attributes factored into the Guiding Stars' algorithm include vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, while the negative attributes consist of added salt, added sugar, cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat. The greater the difference between positive and negative factors, the higher the rating. The system also relies on U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines, the FDA's Nutrient Facts panel and the USDA National Nutrient Database, among other sources. “We only included information available to consumers,” said Greene. “There's no black box about what's being taken into account.”
However, the weights given to each attribute in the patent-pending algorithm remain proprietary. “That could change,” noted Greene. “There's interest in publishing in a peer-reviewed publication.”
But for Hannaford, the credibility of the Guiding Stars system has been borne out in its acceptance by consumers. “They have found that it makes sense and helps them differentiate products,” Greene said.
Hannaford surveyed consumers six months after the program launched in 2006 and found that awareness of the program was 65%, and usage (ranging from “only when a product is new to me” to “every time I shop”) was 80% among those aware of the program. Last November, the chain repeated the survey and found awareness and usage levels were 76% and 70%, respectively.
In another survey following the launch of the program, 23% of shoppers said they increased their shopping at Hannaford, said John Eldredge, director of brand and business development for Guiding Stars Licensing. In addition, he said, within six to 12 months of implementing the program, there was a “measurable shift” of sales from non-star products to products with stars in a category. Hannaford did not disclose the cost of the program.
In 2009, Hannaford expanded the reach of Guiding Stars, adding an online component. Shoppers can go to Hannaford.com and find nutritional information, including allergens, on every edible product in the chain, regardless of whether it received any stars.
Guiding Stars has also enabled Hannaford to improve the nutritional content of its private-brand program. “We have been able to meet or exceed national-brand targets on nutritional quality,” said Greene. In addition, the chain has gone after specific negative food components in its 8,000 private-brand items, such as removing trans fats in 2009.
Prompted by consumer concerns about sodium, Delhaize America last November became the first food retail organization to join the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a national effort led by New York City's Health Department to reduce sodium in packaged and restaurant foods by 25% over five years; Delhaize pledged to cut sodium in 1,100 private-label products across 12 categories. “As we reduce sodium in more products, we're seeing more stars,” said Greene. In fact, she said, 28% of Hannaford's private-label products now have stars, compared with 17% when the program was introduced in 2006.
According to Greene, Hannaford has gotten very little pushback from product manufacturers about the Guiding Stars program. She attributes that to pre-launch efforts to explain the program and share rating results prior to making them public. “We use the same algorithm with our private brands as with our national brands,” she said. “The numbers are the numbers.” Some manufacturers have changed ingredients to earn a star, Greene said.
To educate shoppers on using Guiding Stars, Hannaford puts explanatory shelf talkers throughout the store that list the positive and negative ingredients that go into allocating stars. (This is also available online.) Forty-five of Hannaford's 176 stores employ registered dietitians who do presentations, demonstrations and sampling, offer recipes and lead store tours.
For shoppers with specific nutrient concerns like sugar or sodium, Greene said Guiding Stars can be a way to narrow down choices. “If you choose a product with stars, you will automatically find lower sodium and higher fiber,” she said. “Then turn the package around and ask if this meets the sodium levels your cardiologist recommends.” New packaging information like Nutrition Keys can also complement Guiding Stars, she added. “We will include the keys on our private brand packaging along with stars.”
While Hannaford will continue to offer a wide range of products — indulgences as well as healthier fare — Greene acknowledges that healthy choices “have become a central part of our go-to-market strategy.”
Like Guiding Stars, NuVal, a joint venture of Topco Associates and Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn., markets a system that is designed to be simple for consumers to use: It ranks products from 1 to 100 on shelf price labels — the higher the score, the better the overall nutrition.
The scores are calculated by NuVal's Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI), a patent-pending algorithm for measuring the nutritional quality of food.
With 90,000 scores in its database, NuVal rates virtually all edible products in a store, said Mike Nugent, general manager, NuVal. “Our view is that people want guidance on the majority of the products they are purchasing.”
The algorithm incorporates 30 nutrients and — again like Guiding Stars — compares the amount of “good” nutrients and “bad” ones. For NuVal, the 16 good nutrients include fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and carotenoids. Bad nutrients are saturated and trans fats, sodium, added sugar and cholesterol. The formula also considers such macronutrient factors as fat quality, protein quality, energy density and glycemic load. The data are derived from multiple sources, including the Nutrition Facts panel, the USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines and the USDA national Nutrient Database.
NuVal is also similar to Guiding Stars in using a proprietary algorithm that is patent pending, and in not publicly disclosing how the nutrients in the algorithm are weighted. “I'm not sure the part we're keeping back is extraordinarily problematic for people to understand what we're trying to do,” said Nugent.
In a 2010 SymphonyIRI Group study of the impact of NuVal on sales, products with NuVal scores below 49 were classified as having “lower overall nutrition quality” and those with 50 or greater scores as having “higher overall nutritional quality.” At one unnamed retailer using the system, sales of higher-scoring yogurt items increased by 29.2% in 2009 vs. 2008, compared with 10.9% for lower-scoring yogurt items and 10.4% for all yogurt items (scored and non-scored). Fresh bread & rolls and cold cereal categories also saw greater growth for higher-scoring items.
Last month, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study by the Harvard School of Public Health on the health impact of consuming products with higher NuVal scores. The study concluded that consumption of foods with more favorable NuVal is associated with “modestly lower risk” of chronic disease and “all-cause mortality.” The study, conducted between 1986 and 2006 with more than 110,000 male and female participants, examined their rate of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as their diets, which were scored using the NuVal (ONQI) algorithm.
Nugent said NuVal has experienced “relatively little feedback” from manufacturers who receive low scores. “For those who inquire about why certain products receive the scores they do, we explain the scoring behind specific products, and we offer free webinars that explain the algorithm in-depth,” he said. “We also offer consulting services with manufacturers where we explain how products can be produced to raise their scores.”
One retailer licensing the NuVal program in all departments except deli and bakery is Skogen's Festival Foods, a 14-store chain based in Green Bay, Wis. Stephanie Walker, Skogen's registered dietitian, was drawn to NuVal for its relative simplicity. “A lot of programs give health claims like low sodium and high fiber, but a lot of our guests don't know what that means — they don't know which is better,” she said. “NuVal takes it all and boils it into one score.”
But Walker acknowledged that diabetics need to check carbohydrates and people with allergies need to check ingredients before employing NuVal scores. “NuVal is just a tool, one of many, and if you use it in conjunction with the Nutrition Facts panel, that's great,” she said, adding that it can also work in concert with Nutrition Keys. “But for someone who has never heard of carbohydrates, they might use NuVal because they can understand numbers.”
Walker said she is satisfied with the transparency of the NuVal system because the company “will sit down and show you what is driving a score up or down.”
In educating shoppers about NuVal, Walker will show how it can reduce sodium, sugar and fat significantly over the course of a year by trading up to higher NuVal scores. “It's about making small changes that add up,” she said. The program is also promoted via signs and brochures, and Walker does presentations at local businesses.
Walker pointed out that NuVal score comparisons should be done within a category. “A 40 score is the highest you will get for a cookie, which average six or seven, but it would be low for frozen vegetables, which go up to 100,” she said. Skogen's posts category ranges and averages at the end of each aisle.
Skogen's has gotten a great deal of positive feedback on the NuVal system. “I get stopped by guests all the time who thank me,” Walker said. At two stores, the program was found to have 70% consumer awareness. A few shoppers asked whether it would affect prices, but “nothing is passed on to the consumer,” she said, declining to give the cost of the program.
Some higher-scoring products have sold better than their equally priced lower-scoring counterparts, Walker said; one example is orange juice with calcium and vitamin D (47) outselling regular orange juice (30). She plans to study the sales impact more closely this summer.
While Walker would “love to see the whole food supply get [more nutritious],” Skogen's has not changed its assortment as a result of NuVal. “We still need to cater to everyone,” she said.
Another NuVal user is Big Y, Springfield, Mass., which launched it last September as part of the 58-store chain's “Living Well Eating Smart” program. Carrie Taylor, Big Y's lead registered dietitian, said the program's scores “reinforce many of the buying behaviors I would love to see customers, clients and patients make as a registered dietitian.” NuVal has led Big Y to reformulate private-label products “to meet, if not beat, NuVal scores of competing national brands,” she said.
Taylor observed that incorporating NuVal score information into Big Y's IT systems “takes an incredible amount of time and attention to detail to execute.” But her biggest challenge, she said, is “ensuring shoppers not only know NuVal scores are available on our shelves but what they mean and how to use them.”
To that end, many of Taylor's weekly television tips on a local ABC affiliate have referred to the program. Her recent commercials for Cinco de Mayo and Easter both focused on trading up to higher NuVal scores. In addition, she and Big Y's other corporate dietitian have stepped up community education efforts, attending more health fairs and expositions, lecturing at local dietetic conferences and nutrition educator workshops or holding outreach classes with local agencies and groups.
Big Y recently launched a “NuVal Champion” program at each store whereby employees speak to customers about the program. NuVal is also highlighted in: Big Y's bi-monthly Living Well Eating Smart newsletter; weekly nutrition blogs on MassLive.com; weekly columns in a local newspaper; postings in Facebook and Twitter; and radio campaigns and commercials in collaboration with local stations.
Taylor said many shoppers are using the NuVal scores to trade up to higher-scoring products. In response to a recent Facebook request asking fans to name a food they've traded up to, one shopper mentioned switching from a whole milk product with a 50 score to an organic fat-free milk with a score of 100. Overall, Big Y has observed an “upward trend in sales of products receiving higher NuVal scores,” said Taylor.
Unlike Guiding Stars and NuVal, Supervalu's in-store nutritional navigation program, Nutrition iQ, uses color-coded shelf tags that highlight specific good nutrients (vitamin A, calcium, whole grains) or low levels of “bad” nutrients (sodium or saturated fat) in more than 90,000 products. The program, released in 2009, was created by Supervalu for its banners in collaboration with an independent panel of registered dietitians from Joslin Clinic, Boston.
Supervalu preferred a system like Nutrition iQ that was proprietary and exclusive as well as “tailored to individual dietary needs,” rather than a licensed system rating the overall nutritional quality of foods, said Craig Stacey, director of health and wellness marketing for Supervalu.
“We feel ours is a more specific and transparent approach, linked to proven FDA criteria,” said Stacey. “If you have a heart issue, you can choose a diet using the tags and working with your doctor or dietitian to meet your needs.”
The following Supervalu banners now feature the program: Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco and Shoppers. Supervalu plans to make the program available at Shop ‘n Save, Shaw's and Lucky, but no announcement has been made for Save-A-Lot.
In 2009, Supervalu announced a separate nutrition labeling program, Healthy Elements, for the independent retailers it supplies.
Supervalu launched phase one of the Nutrition iQ program in Center Store areas in 2009, and expanded the program in 2011 to include fresh food departments (produce, meats, bakery and seafood) and more information for Center Store. Between 2,700 and 2,900 Center Store products are tagged, with blade signs explaining the program located around the store. “Whatever qualifies, qualifies, regardless of price or brand,” Stacey said.
Before receiving a Nutrition iQ tag, products are screened to ensure that they have limited levels of sodium, saturated fat and, in some categories, sugar, based on Joslin Clinic criteria. This requirement excluded several categories from the program, such as soft drinks, candy/gum/mints, coffee and tea, cookies and dietetic foods, among others.
For products meeting the threshold criteria, their top one or two positive nutritional elements — “what the products are good for,” said Stacey — are called out on colored Nutrition iQ shelf tags, which are printed by Vestcom. Minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc are denoted by light blue tags; vitamins such as A, C, K, B and folate by dark purple tags; omega-3 fats and low saturated fat by red tags; excellent or good source of fiber by orange tags; excellent or good source of protein by yellow tags; and whole grains by a dark orange tag.
In the produce and other fresh areas, Nutrition iQ also calls out key health benefits, depending on the nutrient, such as: Important for muscle and bone health; helps support healthy digestion; promotes eye, skin and immune health; and may reduce risk of birth defects. A banana's potassium content is linked to regulating blood pressure, noted Stacey. Between 15 and 20 produce items get signs with Nutrition iQ icons and related health benefits; information on other products is available online.
Last month Supervalu announced that two of its banners — Acme and Farm Fresh — would be offering a “Colors in Your Carriage” produce education initiative through June that includes Nutrition iQ. Jennifer Shea, the company's dietitian for its Eastern banners, is sharing weekly advice on the banners' Facebook pages, including a video grocery tour, meal suggestions and other cooking and shopping tips.
Supervalu conducted research in four markets after the launch of Nutrition iQ in 2009 and found awareness and acceptance to be “high,” said Stacey. The company has partnered with its dietitians in stores to “understand how shoppers are using the program,” he added; this led to the expansion of the program into fresh departments and the creation of a “100% juice” tag.
The program has also generated anecdotal information indicating usage on the part of shoppers, such as moms directing their kids to select cereals with orange tags (for fiber) or shoppers saying they missed the tags when they went on vacation and didn't find them in local stores. Sales figures also indicate sales lifts for items with Nutrition iQ tags, said Stacey, declining to offer specifics. Supervalu declined to comment on the cost of the program.
Supervalu's corporate merchandisers work with Stacey and his team “to understand what products in a category receive tags, and if they don't, why not,” he said. Manufacturers also strive to understand the program's requirements and why products may not qualify. Nutrition iQ “has changed the conversation within our company and with vendors,” he said.
Bashas', Chandler, Ariz., is an example of a chain whose Eat Smart nutritional labeling program, while similar to Supervalu's Nutrition iQ, is customized according to its own standards, which are set not by an outside group but by the chain's corporate registered dietitian, Barbara Ruhs.
Ruhs' goal with the program is to “make an impact on public health,” she said.
Like Nutrition iQ, Eat Smart, launched in February 2011, features color-coded tags depicting salient nutritional attributes: Heart Healthy (red), Sugar Smart (light purple), Fiber Smart (green), Calcium Smart (light blue), Gluten Free (pink), Whole Grain (brown) and Low Sodium (dark purple). Additional tags are available for good source of vitamin A or C, low saturated fat, organic and natural. The tags apply to packaged products with a UPC code.
But to qualify for a tag, most products must contain 13 or less grams of total fat and 4 grams or less of saturated fat; 60 milligrams or less of cholesterol; 480 milligrams or less of sodium; and 10% or more of the daily value for one of the following: vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, protein or fiber. Gluten-free products are not subject to these requirements. More than 8,000 products have been tagged.
Qualifying products get one or two of the most relevant nutrition tags, posted underneath shelf price labels. Vestcom, which maintains Bashas' 30,000-UPC nutritional database, prints the combined nutrition tag/price labels. “Priorities are assigned to every category,” Ruhs said. “For example, sugar is not an issue for soups but salt is.”
The new program replaces a similar, but more cumbersome three-year-old tag program that required the hanging of separate nutrition labels.
Ruhs evaluated her previous program, which tagged about 1,000 products, and found that tagged products “enhanced the decision to buy healthier choices,” with program education having a significant impact. She plans to track the sales impact of her four-month-old program when it has a longer track record. “Health does sell and my tag project will help illustrate that,” she said. She didn't cite the cost of the new program but said her goal is to offset it with the increased sales volume of tagged products.
While Vestcom offers retailers a packaged nutritional labeling system, Healthy Aisles, Ruhs chose to create her own system that applied more stringent standards. “If I wanted Heart Healthy tags to meet the FDA's requirement of what heart healthy is — which is what Vestcom's program does — I could have done that, but I wanted something stricter,” she said. “I didn't want someone with heart disease to think that certain choices are heart healthy that I wouldn't recommend as a dietitian.”
Of the 17 food retailers that use Vestcom to support a nutritional labeling program, “all but a handful add customization,” said Jeff Weidauer, vice president of marketing and strategy for Vestcom.
Ruhs considers her shelf labeling program more reliable than nutritional information on packaging. Some fruit juices claim to be heart healthy on packaging, but they don't get her heart healthy shelf tag because of their sugar content. “It's misleading,” she said. “There's some need for [nutritional] communication on packaging, but it's out of control now. I want consumers to choose based on what's really in the product and what the health benefit is.”
Ruhs explained why she prefers a shelf labeling program focused on nutritional benefits over a rating program. Rating programs “have many merits, but I want to educate people, not just unconsciously guide them to better choices,” she said. “I want to believe that people do want to know why a product is getting flagged and consciously know why they are making a choice.” She also “has a problem” with labeling programs whose algorithm is not entirely public, and doesn't believe nutrition labeling should be a for-profit exercise.
On the other hand, she acknowledges that some people, like her mother, would find it easier to use a scoring system that rates products from one to 100. “Not everyone comes in with lots of understanding of nutrition.” So she has left open the possibility of incorporating NuVal numbers or Guiding Stars within her existing tags.
PROGRAMS IN BRIEF
|Guiding Stars||Hannaford Bros., Food Lion, Sweetbay Bloom, Kings Super Markets, Homeland, Marsh||2006||1-3 stars; proprietary algorithm; USDA/FDA guidelines|
|NuVal||1,030 U.S. supermarkets, including Hy-Vee, Meijer and Big Y||2008||1-100 rating; ONQI algorithm incorporating 30 nutrients; USDA/FDA guidelines|
|Nutrition iQ||Most Supervalu banners; expected for Shaw's, Shop ‘n Save, Lucky banners; not announced for Save-A-Lot banner||2009||Color-coded shelf tags; signs in fresh departments; focus on one or two specific nutrients and health benefits; products screened with Joslin Clinic criteria|
|Eat Smart||Bashas'||2011||Color-coded shelf tags designed by corporate dietitian; one or two tags used per product; applied to bar-coded products; products, except gluten-free, screened|
How NuVal, Guiding Stars, Nutrition iQ and Eat Smart compare for four products:
|GUIDING STARS |
|NUTRITION IQ||BASHAS' EAT SMART|
|Ronzoni Thin Spaghetti||57||2 stars||Excellent source of fiber||No tags|
|Private-Label Milk (1% milk fat)||81||3 stars||Excellent source of calcium; good source of protein||Calcium Smart|
|V8 Juice (regular)||40||0 stars||100% juice||Sugar Smart; good source of vitamin A|
|Cheerios (regular)||37||2 Stars||Good source of fiber||Sugar Smart; Whole Grain|