Hannaford shoppers making more nutritious choices

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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SCARBOROUGH, ME ― Consumer selection of foods offering more nutrition for the calories are outpacing selection of those that don’t in many aisles of Hannaford Supermarkets, a regional retailer. In some cases three to four times faster.

So reveals data one year since the company launched Guiding Stars, a storewide system the company created to help Hannaford shoppers make more informed nutritional choices.

The greatest change was in the packaged foods section of the store where cereals, commercial bakery, canned/jarred foods, dry products, snack foods and beverages reside. Selection of packaged foods with one, two or three stars grew steadily at 2 1/2 times the rate of those without stars.

Data from the first 12 months of Hannaford’s program, compared to the same time period one year prior to Guiding Stars’ launch in September 2006, revealed selection of fattier meat declined. Starred ground beef (90% or more fat-free) selection increased by 7%, while ground beef without stars dropped 5%. Starred chicken grew at 5%, while chicken without Stars decreased 3%. Movement of all meat and poultry with Stars grew at more than 2 1/2 times the rate of those with no Stars.

Movement of starred frozen dinners/entrées outpaced frozen no-stars, growing about 4 1/2 times faster than frozen dinners/entrées without Stars.

"We’re talking about more than a billion food product decisions since Guiding Stars was launched,” said Caren Epstein, director of external communications at Hannaford. “The genesis of the idea came from our shoppers themselves ― we talked to them about different ways we could help make the time they spend in our stores an even better experience, they told us about their confusion and frustration with available nutritional information, and that led to Guiding Stars."

Hannaford’s Guiding Stars system analyzed, evaluated and rated more than 25,500 food items in all Hannaford stores to date. The system features one, two or three star ratings ― representing “good”, “better” or “best” nutritional value, respectively, on unit price tags throughout all Hannaford stores.

The foundation of Hannaford’s Guiding Stars system is a proprietary formula that analyzes food products and assigns them a rating. Developed by a scientific panel, the formula credits a food’s score for the presence of vitamins and minerals, fiber and whole grains. It debits the score for trans fatty acids, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. The criteria follow the recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and offer a complement to the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient list.

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