The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that supermarkets provide a critical service for public health. Something as basic as where a person lives in relation to a supermarket can put a nutritious diet out of reach. These essential businesses not only provide access to healthy foods and beverages, but they also influence the availability and affordability of options that shoppers choose from.
Guiding Stars simplifies selecting a healthy choice for supermarket shoppers. We provide at-a-glance star ratings for both national and store brand products – on shelf tags, on packaging for store brands and online. Behind the scenes, the program also supports grocery retailers to create a more healthy and equitable food system. Let me explain some ways in which we do this.
Targeting Better Sales
Our supermarket clients have publicly reported targets for healthy sales based on Guiding Stars-earning products. There is financial motivation for the business to achieve these ambitions. This has potential positive health implications for consumers. It influences products, prices, and promotions. The business and shopper each benefit when better-for-you products are sold.
Innovating Products for Better Nutrition
Our supermarket clients achieve their healthy sales targets, which often increase from one year to the next, when they improve the overall nutrition of their product assortment. For store brand products, this means that more star-earning products are available for consumers. This happens either through reformulation of an existing product or innovation of a new, nutritious product. If a supermarket can reformulate a popular product among consumers so it is nutritious enough to earn Guiding Stars, that boosts healthy sales. Launching a new, nutritious product that customers will love can support healthy sales too.
Displaying Better Products
We all have seen displays of unhealthy, indulgent products at the supermarket. These products are often shelf stable and craveable, but we know that consumers want better-for-you options. Our clients use Guiding Stars ratings to build better-for-you displays that sell well. The program’s ratings identify products in the checkout area or aisle end cap that support good health.
Rewarding Better Purchases
We see strong interest from retailers, employers, and insurers in this area. Guiding Stars makes it easy to identify and track healthy behaviors. We know that the purchase of nutritious foods and beverages is an important step to a more nutritious diet. Our grocery retail clients are interested in this for their shoppers and employees. Purchases of Guiding Stars-earning products are rewarded through their shopper loyalty program.
Giving Better to Local Food Banks
Today, food banks aim to nourish people facing hunger, not just feed them. Our supermarket clients use Guiding Stars to invite shoppers to purchase healthy foods and give healthy foods to local food banks. This supports the supermarket and food banks combined mission to support people’s health and well-being.