A supermarket chain with stores in Lower Saucon Township and Coopersburg said Tuesday it is launching a first-of-its kind, multi-store nutrition navigation program called Guiding Stars.
Giant Food Stores said in a news release that Guiding Stars is the first program of its kind in the world, and is designed to help customers eat healthier and save time grocery shopping by taking “the guesswork out of nutrition by decoding labels into one clear rating.”
This is something many customers have difficulty with, the company said, citing a 2013 Centers for Disease Control study.
“With symbols that are visible at a glance, Guiding Stars aims to take the guesswork out of nutrition by decoding labels into one clear rating,” the company said. “Available at all GIANT/MARTIN’S locations, more than 9,000 items will feature the star ranking system that showcases ‘good,’ ‘better’ and ‘best’ choices.”
An item with one star has “good” nutritional value, an item with two stars has “better” nutritional value and an item with three stars has the best nutritional value, according to the new rating system, which Giant said is consistent with national policies including Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“We’re focused on making it easy for customers to find more nutritious options, and Guiding Stars is the perfect addition to our shelves and also online,” said Sarah Glunz, MS, CNS, LDN, lead nutritionist for Giant. “We know more of our customers are prioritizing nutrition and in fact, our research tells us that over half of Americans cook at home because the meals are healthier*. Our customers can be confident that with Guiding Stars they’re selecting the foods that are best for their families.”
“We’re excited to provide this empowering tool to our customers because label reading can be intimidating,” added Glunz. “Whether you are taking the first step or are already on your wellness journey, Guiding Stars is quick and easy to understand.”
Guiding Stars will help customers identify products that have more vitamins, minerals, fiber, whole grains and omega-3’s, and less trans fat, saturated fat, added sodium, added sugar and artificial colors.
“If no Guiding Stars symbol is shown, the item is either not nutritionally recommended, new to the program and hasn’t been rated yet, is less than five calories such as water or tea, is a dietary supplement, medical food such as baby formula or the product does not have nutrition information available,” the news release stated.
For Giant customers who buy their groceries online in order to enjoy the convenience of home delivery, Guiding Stars will be featured on tens of thousands of items on Peapod.com. Customers will be able to easily sort through products based on the Guiding Star rating for ease and convenience, the company said.
*ORC International conducted an online survey among 1,024 adults 18 years of age and older on November 27-29, 2017.