As kids start to head back to school and family calendars become increasingly busy with after-school activities, there’s even more interest among shoppers in convenient snacks that do not compromise on nutrition. Snack bars check off a lot of boxes for consumers looking for on-the-go snacks. They are available in appetizing flavors, have a long shelf life, are packed in attractive single serving packaging, and are perceived as a healthy choice due in part to convincing health claims by manufacturers. However, in terms of nutrition, not all snack bars are created equal. For this edition of Surprising Stars, let’s discuss why there are less Guiding Stars-earning snack bars than some might expect and how to ensure your selection within these foods is nutrient dense.
Supermarket sales continue to show shoppers’ growing interest in and demand for local foods. In the Hartman Group’s Health + Wellness 2019 report, 69% of consumers say they look for locally grown or produced foods and beverages when shopping. To meet this demand, grocers are sourcing and marketing more local foods in their stores. The same Hartman report noted that consumers across the board see locally sourced foods and beverages as healthier, but is that true? In this edition of Surprising Stars, let’s explore how Guiding Stars evaluates local foods and determines if they really are a nutritious choice.
Potato chips are among America’s most popular “snack foods” and sales spike during the summer months. There’s no wonder why, unless you’ve never tasted a potato chip. They are the classic high-fat, salty snack designed to make it hard to stop eating once you’ve started. Most Americans recognize that potato chips are a food that should be eaten in moderation. At the same time, due to shopper demands, there are an increasing amount of better-for-you chip options to choose from at the supermarket. For this month’s Surprising Stars, I’m going to explain why some potato chips earn Guiding Stars.
The Guiding Stars algorithm for babies and toddlers reflects the specific nutritional requirements of children under the age of two. By selecting baby foods with one, two, or three stars, you’ll be feeding baby more vitamins and minerals and less added sodium, added sugar, and artificial colors.
According to a 2018 Gallup poll, just 5% of Americans identify as vegetarian and 3% as vegans. However, there’s no denying that plant-based eating is becoming more mainstream, even among omnivores.
I’ve led my fair share of healthy shopping tours. While walking through the aisles of the supermarket, I explain the Guiding Stars program and how it helps shoppers identify more nutritious choices. One of my favorite things to point out is that you can find the best nutritional value in fresh, canned, and frozen produce. I select an obviously nutritious product like fresh green beans then show canned and frozen versions in the store that also earn our best score: 3 Guiding Stars. If a tour group is focused on eating better on a budget, I’ll note the varying unit prices among the three forms. Through this exercise, I discuss some key factors to consider when deciding between fresh, canned and frozen vegetables. I also want to share those here, in our latest edition of Surprising Stars.
If you have ever looked at the dairy case in the supermarket, you know that there are a lot of options for yogurt. If you were to shop one of our client’s stores you might be surprised by the lack of Guiding Stars-earning yogurts. This is not to say that their assortment is less nutritious than their competitors, but rather that the sweeteners added to yogurt have a negative effect on nutrient density. In fact, just 20% of yogurts earn Guiding Stars due in large part to added sugars.
In this new blog series that we are calling “Surprising Stars,” we will address categories of foods where consumers find a different number of Guiding Stars earning options than they might expect. For our first topic, we are tackling the bread aisle.