HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

Can Good Nutrition Sell?

Posted on | October 31, 2007 | No Comments

A look at the “Guiding Stars” rating system

There’s a lot of turmoil in the food and beverage industry these days – particularly in fast foods – as brands scramble to understand the changing wants and needs of consumers. One of the driving forces at work is a new consumer consciousness about nutritional value in food, which seems to be supplanting portion sizes in the minds of buyers. The food debate in the United States over the past three years has moved from the question, “how much should I eat?” to “what should I eat?” – and more importantly, “what’s in my food?”

Up until recently, our lack of knowledge about food was driven, to a large extent, by misinformation, and massive marketing that hijacked the words “health,” “balance,” “light” and “good for you,” and aligned them with products that clearly were making us ill. The government has responded with better labels, and earnest efforts, but in truth, they have been outgunned by manufacturers, who managed to maintain enough confusion and complexity to keep American families in the dark – at least until now.

Nutritional awareness is moving into the public spotlight, helped along by some enlightened thinkers. Example: Over the last year, Hannaford Brothers Company, a chain of more than 150 grocery stores in Maine, has been offering a unique grading system designed to guide its customers toward better food choices. Called “Guiding Stars,” the system uses a rating formula that credits a food’s score for the presence of vitamins, minerals, fiber and whole grains and debits a food’s score for the presence of trans or saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugar and added sodium. Foods with the highest nutritional values get stars on their packaging to set them off from other products – with three stars being the top rating.

The system was designed by nutritional experts and it seems to be changing consumer buying behavior for the better in Hannaford stores. Sales of more nutritious products are up, and sales of less nutritious products are down. More importantly, this novel packaging idea is getting national attention.

To learn more about this issue and Hannaford’s response to it, watch this week’s video (embedded with this blog post) or read the full transcript of this week’s program, below. I’d like to hear your opinion on this topic. How do feel about the food choices we are given in the United States? Good or bad?

Mike Magee

See Also

Comments

Leave a Reply





Show Buttons
Hide Buttons