Guiding Stars®, Bates College Create Pioneering Nutrition Navigation System Partnership for College Dining

New Rating System Helps College Students Make More Nutritious Food Choices

Guiding Stars, the world’s first store-wide nutrition navigation system now available in more than 1,400 grocery stores, announces a groundbreaking partnership with Bates College to launch the Guiding Stars program in the college’s dining facilities this April.

Guiding Stars Licensing Co. (GSLC) will rate prepared meals, snacks, salad bar and grab-and-go items available in Bates’ dining Commons and related sites. Each item or recipe rated will receive zero to three stars according to its nutritional value. This simple, at-a-glance tool allows students to quickly identify and choose foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories. The announcement comes on the heels of Guiding Stars’ launch of the first-ever nutrition navigation system in a public school this past January.

“The Guiding Stars program is designed to help individuals and families make more nutritious food choices,” said John Eldredge, director of brand & business development at Guiding Stars Licensing Company. “We salute Bates’ long standing commitment to high-quality, innovative food service and nutrition education and are excited to add Guiding Stars as a learning tool on campus.”

Guiding Stars utilizes a proprietary algorithm that is grounded in evidence-based science and the most current guidelines and recommendations of leading national and international health organizations, such as the FDA and USDA. The system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars – one star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value.

“At Bates, we believe strongly in nourishing mind and body by offering our students, faculty and staff fresh, nutritious food choices,” said Christine Schwartz, director of dining services at bates. “Our innovative programs, including a local food initiative, sustainable sourcing and initiatives for waste minimization programs, recycling and composting have made a tremendous impact on our campus and community. We are thrilled to implement yet another innovative and impactful program, Guiding Stars, in our dining halls.”

The Guiding Stars system was the first of its kind when implemented in select grocery stores in September 2006 in response to consumer demand for a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutritional choices as they shop. The Guiding Stars program is now on shelf tags and signage in grocery stores throughout the Northeast, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida. The consistency of seeing Guiding Stars both in schools and their local grocery stores is yet another benefit of the program, allowing students to make more nutritious food choices based on information that is comprehensive, accurate, and easy to use and understand.

About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.

Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious choices by pioneering the first-ever storewide nutrition navigation system. The Guiding Stars program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutritional choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars Licensing Co., based in Scarborough, Maine, creates opportunities for supermarkets, manufacturers, food service providers and other organizations to license the program and make nutritious shopping simple throughout the United States. Guiding Stars is currently in more than 1,400 supermarkets up and down the East Coast including 1,177 Food Lion Stores in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, 167 Hannaford locations in the Northeast and 108 Sweetbay stores in central and western Florida. The program is supported by a 15-person team with significant licensing, marketing, food retail, IT and customer service experience.

About Bates College

Bates College is widely regarded as one of the finest U.S. liberal arts colleges. Alumni frequently cite the capacities they developed at Bates for critical assessment, analysis, expression, aesthetic sensibility and independent thought. About 40 percent of students participate in career internships, and more than two-thirds of recent graduates enroll in graduate study within 10 years after graduation. Bates was founded in 1855 by Maine abolitionists, and Bates graduates have always included men and women from diverse racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Bates has dedicated the 2008-09 academic year to an initiative called “Nourishing Body and Mind: Bates Contemplates Food,” designed to raise consciousness about the consequences of our food choices and, in particular, about Bates’ own efforts to feed the campus in a healthy, sustainable way. The initiative includes a Web site (, events and other programming.