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The “Guiding Stars” nutritional guidance program has debuted at select Loblaw Cos. Ltd. banner stores across Quebec. On Aug. 1, all 108 Loblaws, Provigo and Provigo Le Marche stores in the Canadian province began offering the program, which provides at-a-glance nutritional ratings for foods in every store aisle.
Already featured in 259 Ontario Loblaws banner stores, the program required translation of all store signs and consumer materials into French for its expansion into Quebec, along with the creation of a French-language website.
“This is a major milestone for Guiding Stars in Canada,” said Jim McBride, director of operations for Portland, Maine-based Guiding Stars. “Combined, the program is now in 367 stores in Ontario and Quebec, and is bilingual in English and French. … Guiding Stars translates well across borders and in multiple languages.”
Designed to complement existing nutritional data such as the nutrition facts table, on-package product labels and Canada’s "Food Guide to Healthy Eating," Guiding Stars is an impartial, patented food-rating system that evaluates food based on nutrient density, employing a scientific algorithm grounded in up-to-date dietary guidelines and the recommendations of national regulatory and health organizations.
In Canada's version of the program, foods receive credits for containing vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids, and are debited for saturated fats, trans fats, added sodium and added sugar. Rated foods get tags indicating one, two or three stars, with 3-stars being the highest rating an item can receive. If a food receives no stars, it failed to meet the nutrition criteria for a Guiding Star.
Introduced in 2006, Guiding Stars is found in more than 1,800 supermarkets, including Hannaford, Food Lion, Sweetbay, Homeland and Marsh in the United States, and Loblaws banners in Ontario and Quebec. The program has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals and appears on a Shopper mobile iPhone application.