First-of-Its-Kind Initiative that Helps Shoppers Make Nutritious Choices Is More Relevant Today than Ever with Rising Obesity Rates
Portland, Maine — March 31, 2016 — Guiding Stars is celebrating its 10th year as North America’s leading nutrition guidance program, a role that is now more important than ever before. With obesity rates and other chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease rising across North America, shoppers need an easy way to make nutritious choices when purchasing food. Guiding Stars is simple to use and available at major grocery chains and food service facilities at thousands of locations across the U.S. and Canada as well as online. Guiding Stars has made a real difference in the lives of millions over the past 10 years.
National Nutrition Month shines a spotlight on the state of America’s health. Recent updates from the CDC show that more than a third of adults in the U.S. are obese, which puts them at greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Better nutritional choices can help people live longer, more productive lives, but it can be a challenge for shoppers to pick the right products. Launched in 2006, Guiding Stars partnered with scientific advisors to develop a food rating system based on a patented, published algorithm that objectively rates foods for nutritional value, assigning one star for good, two for better and three for the best nutritional value.
“One of the keys to the long-term success of the Guiding Stars program is that it is very simple to understand,” said Jim McBride, Director, Guiding Stars Licensing Company. “As customers make their way down the aisle of a supermarket, think about choices in a cafeteria or plan homemade meals, Guiding Stars serves as a visual reminder to take good nutrition into account. Most importantly, it really works. Independent studies have shown that Guiding Stars definitely affects consumer behavior, prompting people to choose the most nutritious foods. As organizations across the country celebrate National Nutrition Month, we’re proud of Guiding Stars’ contribution to the nutrition landscape over the past 10 years and look forward to continuing our work to help consumers make smarter food choices every day.”
The Guiding Stars algorithm and ratings criteria are publicly available to maximize transparency and build trust with consumers, stores and manufacturers. The program uses the information from the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredients lists that appear on food products — information that consumers typically find hard to read and confusing. By using an algorithm to create a score based on the assignment of credits and debits, Guiding Stars makes it clear which foods provide the best nutrition, making it simple for anyone to choose nutritious foods — from children to seniors.
“Over the past 10 years, Guiding Stars has remained committed to the program’s original mission, which is providing clear nutritional information to help shoppers make better choices,” said Julie Greene, Healthy Living Manager, Hannaford Supermarkets. “But the program has also evolved, adjusting the rating system and patented algorithm in response to changing dietary guidelines as the science of nutrition has matured. Guiding Stars has also added more information to help consumers live better, such as recipes and in-depth health and nutrition information at the Guiding Stars website. Guiding Stars was a revolutionary idea that has stood the test of time. Sound science, committed public health experts, transparency: these are all qualities of the Guiding Stars program that make it a hallmark public health success.”
With major partners like Food Lion, Hannaford, Homeland, Loblaws and Marsh and more than 100,000 foods rated in a searchable database, Guiding Stars is changing the way people eat, one healthy meal at a time. The program is also helping to create momentum for food manufacturers to alter their recipes; during the company’s 10-year tenure, the percentage of foods that earn a star grew to approximately 35%, including a dramatic 17% to 35% growth in ratings among private label products, many of which now include more nutritious choices with low-sodium and reduced fat options.
To learn more about the Guiding Stars program, please visit www.guidingstars.com.
About Guiding Stars
Since 2006, the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program has helped millions of consumers make more nutritious food choices. Based on its U.S. and Canadian patented nutrition rating algorithm, the program provides 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 in more than 1,500 supermarkets in the U.S., including Hannaford, Food Lion, Homeland, Marsh Supermarkets, B&R and Price Chopper (Kansas City). In Canada, Guiding Stars is offered exclusively through Loblaw Companies Limited, and is currently in more than 900 stores from British Columbia to Newfoundland through Loblaws and its affiliated banner stores Atlantic Superstore®, Dominion®, Fortinos®, ProvigoMC, ProvigoMC Le Marche, Real Canadian Superstore®, Save Easy®, Valu-mart®, Your Independent Grocer® and Zehrs®. Guiding Stars can also be found in public school, college and hospital dining facilities and is accessible through the Shopper mobile app for iOS devices. For more information, visit www.guidingstars.com.