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In a move to help greater St. Cloud area residents eat better, improve their health and reduce rising obesity rates, Coborn's grocery stores teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) and CentraCare Health Foundation's BLEND initiative to introduce the NuVal nutritional scoring system to Central Minnesota.
"Coborn's is dedicated to the health and sustainability of our communities," said Coborn's president and CEO, Chris Coborn. "This unique collaboration gives us the opportunity to help our customers make better informed decisions about nutrition."
With the addition of the eight Coborn's stores in central Minnesota, the NuVal scoring system is now available in nearly 900 supermarkets in 23 states across the U.S.
The NuVal scoring system, developed by David Katz, M.D., Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and a dozen of the world's leading experts in health and nutrition, gives food items a score from 1 to 100; the higher the score, the higher the overall nutrition. The system takes more than 30 different nutrients into account when developing a score, and scored categories include meat, seafood, poultry, salty snacks, milk, yogurt, vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned), cereal, bread, cookies, soft drinks, and crackers. Ultimately, NuVal says it will guide grocery customers in all food categories.
"People today have the will to eat healthier, and NuVal provides the way," said Katz. "In a time where food labels can be so confusing that we literally aren't sure what foods will truly nourish us, NuVal provides a GPS system to find better foods in all aisles of the grocery store."
CentraCare Health Foundation's BLEND Initiative (Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily) sees the introduction of NuVal as an important step toward its goal of community wellness. "The NuVal system fits well with CentraCare Health System's mission of working to improve the health of every patient, every day," said CentraCare president, Terry Pladson, M.D. "The system will help empower consumers to make choices that can improve their health."
Customers will find NuVal labels for thousands of items at eight participating Coborn's grocery stores: Clearwater, Foley, both Sartell locations, Sauk Rapids, both St. Cloud locations, and St. Joseph. NuVal scores are located on the supermarket shelf and are marked by a double hexagon.
The NuVal system was developed to enable shoppers to:
- Discover the more nutritious products in a store more quickly and easily, by simply looking at the shelf tag, and choosing the higher NuVal score.
- Harness the knowledge and research of more than a dozen nutrition experts, and be able to share nutrition information with their families.
- Get more nutrition for their budget, because they can now compare items side-by-side to determine which product offers the better value in terms of nutrition and price. For instance, consumers may find that some varieties of frozen or canned vegetables score the same as fresh produce on the NuVal scale.
- Compare the nutritional value of name brand vs. store brand products. In many instances, consumers will find that Coborn's private label items are just as nutritious as the name brands.
Participating Coborn's grocery stores carry NuVal labeling for more than half of all its grocery products, and plan to continue adding more. In the stores, students from the four St. Cloud area universities (St. John's University, the College of St. Benedict, St. Cloud State University, and the St. Cloud Technical and Community College) who are studying for careers as dieticians or nutritionists, will help educate consumers about NuVal. "Local organizations have come together to make NuVal available to more Minnesotans," said NuVal GM Mike Nugent. "This community-based model is the first of its kind for NuVal, and a model of innovation for the rest of the country as we all strive for better health."
St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn's operates 39 Coborn's, Cash Wise Foods, and Save-A-Lot grocery stores across six states in the Upper Midwest. The company also owns and operates convenience, liquor, video stores, pharmacies, CobornsDelivers online grocery and home delivery service, a central bakery, central dry cleaning facility, central commissary, long term care pharmacy, and its own grocery distribution center.