New At-a-Glance Food Rating System to Help Shoppers Easily Identify Healthier Options
PORTLAND, MAINE (July 17, 2012)— Shoppers at Apple Markets of St. Joseph, Mo., now have a faster, easier way to make healthier food choices when shopping for their family. Apple Markets of St. Joe’s today become the first Midwestern grocery retailer to launch the Guiding Stars® nutrition guidance program at all three St. Joe’s locations, providing an at-a-glance nutritional rating system to help customers quickly and easily identify products that offer a better nutritional value.
Designed to complement the existing Nutrition Facts panel found on each product, Guiding Stars eliminates the need for shoppers to spend excess time and energy reading and deciphering package labels. Instead, they can simply glance at the Guiding Stars labels, shelf tags, stickers and other signage to find more nutritious food choices for themselves and their family.
The Guiding Stars system cuts through the clutter of nutrition data and labels that tout “Heart Healthy,” “Low Fat,” “Whole Grain,” and other claims that can be misleading or confusing. The system rates each edible item in the store, including fresh produce, meats, seafood, packaged foods, prepared deli items and dairy products, using a patented algorithm grounded in the most current dietary guidelines and recommendations of leading national regulatory and health organizations.
Each food is then assigned a rating, which is clearly marked with a shelf tag, label or other signage that indicates its nutritional value. The more nutritional value a food has, the more Guiding Stars it receives on a scale of zero-to-three. One Guiding Star indicates good nutritional value; two Guiding Stars, better nutritional value; three Guiding Stars, the best nutritional value. A product with no visible star means that, although the product has been rated, it did not meet the nutrition criteria to merit a Guiding Star.
Despite efforts by the federal government and food packagers to label foods for their nutritional content, evidence suggests consumers are still confused about how to make the best choices. In a recent survey, nearly 68 percent of shoppers said they don’t read the Nutrition Facts panel because it’s too confusing, takes too much time, lacks valuable information or overwhelms them with detail they don’t care about. And, nearly 65 percent admitted they need help beyond the Nutrition Facts panel to identify healthier foods.
“As a community partner, we feel it’s our responsibility to encourage a healthy lifestyle for our customers and provide them with the most enjoyable shopping experience possible,” said Adam Rini, sales manager for Apple Market Group. “We are very pleased to offer this innovative program that makes it easier for shoppers to eat healthier, live better and save time.”
“Shoppers are looking for convenient ways to improve their eating habits,” said Sue Till, client services manager for Guiding Stars. “Guiding Stars will ultimately make it easier for Apple Market customers to make more nutritious choices for themselves and their families. We’re very excited to welcome them aboard as a Guiding Stars partner and introduce our program to Missouri and the Midwest.”
For more information about the Guiding Stars program, visit www.guidingstars.com.
About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.
Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious food choices and recently received a U.S. Patent for the Guiding Stars nutrition rating algorithm. The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutrition choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars is currently found in more than 1,700 supermarkets including Hannaford, Food Lion, Sweetbay, Homeland, Kings Super Market and Marsh Supermarkets. Guiding Stars has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application. Additional information can be found at www.guidingstars.com.