Hannaford to license Guiding Stars program

by Keith Nunes
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SCARBOROUGH, ME. — Hannaford Supermarkets plans to license its Guiding Stars nutrition rating system. The program, which is based on a patent pending proprietary formula, will be marketed to other retail chains as well as vendors and health care groups.

The program, introduced in September 2006, rates foods with 0 to 3 stars based on their nutritional value. Hannaford Supermarket executives said consumer selection of foods that offered more nutrition for the calories, and garnered more stars, outpaced the selection of products that didn’t.

"Since its inception we have received numerous inquiries about the program from supermarkets, vendors, schools, health care professionals and others inquiring about how to obtain Guiding Stars," said Mark Doiron, senior vice-president.

While the Guiding Stars program is currently defined as a "nutrition navigation system" that uses in-store signs, shelf tags and advertising materials to communicate with consumers, Caren Epstein, a spokesperson for Hannaford, sees wider applications.

"We can certainly see its adaptability for front-of-package labeling," she said. "What we’re looking at is how it might be modified for other purposes without compromising its integrity."

On Nov. 28, Topco Associates L.L.C., a supermarket cooperative based in Skokie, Ill., announced it was introducing a nutrition scoring system called the Overall Nutritional Quality Index, which also is based on a proprietary formula and uses a scoring scale of 1 to 100. The system was developed by David Katz, head of Yale’s Griffin Hospital Prevention Research Center, and a group of nutritionists, uses 30 nutrient factors to assign food scores.

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