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Guiding Stars, the pioneering storewide nutrition navigation system that debuted at Hannaford Supermarkets in September 2006 and is now found in 1,400 grocery stores, has formed an innovative partnership with Bates College to launch the program in its dining facilities this month, according to Scarborough, Maine-based Guiding Stars Licensing Co. (GSLC), which creates opportunities for supermarkets, manufacturers, foodservice providers and other organizations to license the program.
The system will rate prepared meals, snacks, salad bar and grab-and-go items sold in Bates’ dining commons and related sites. Each item or recipe rated will receive zero to three stars based on its nutritional value, allowing students to quickly identify and select the most nutritious options. In January, Guiding Stars became the first program of its kind to roll out in a public school district, when it debuted at one in GSLC’s home state.
Guiding Stars employs a proprietary algorithm grounded in evidence-based science and the most current guidelines and recommendations of national and international health organizations such as the FDA and USDA. The system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars, with one star meaning good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value.
“At Bates, we believe strongly in nourishing mind and body by offering our students, faculty and staff fresh, nutritious food choices,” said Christine Schwartz, director of dining services at Lewiston, Maine-based Bates. “Our innovative programs, including a local food initiative, sustainable sourcing and initiatives for waste-minimization programs, recycling and composting have made a tremendous impact on our campus and community.”
The Guiding Stars program is available at Delhaize grocery store banners Hannaford, Food Lion and Sweetbay throughout the Northeast, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida.