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    Guiding Stars Licensing Firm Seeks Partners Beyond Grocery

    GSLC said it is reaching out not only to other grocers, but also to food manufacturers, convenience stores, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.

    Guiding Stars Licensing Co. (GSLC), a new company formed to license Hannaford Supermarket's Guiding Stars program, said it is actively looking to broaden its consumer reach by recruiting more partners outside of the grocery channel.

    The licensing company, incorporated July 1, said it is marketing the program not only to grocers, but also to food manufacturers, restaurants, and convenience stores, in addition to hospitals and schools.

    Currently, the program is up and running at 1,450 East Coast grocery stores under the Delhaize Group umbrella. Besides all 165 Hannaford locations, which are in the Northeast, Guiding Stars shelf tags, signs and other collateral materials can now be found at 1,177 Food Lion stores in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, and 108 Sweetbay Supermarket stores in central and western Florida.

    The grocer touts Guiding Stars as the nation's first storewide nutrition rating system.

    "Since the inception of Guiding Stars, we've received inquiries from many different stakeholders about how to obtain and implement the program," said Chip LeBlanc, director of operations at GSLC. "We're reaching out to organizations that are interested in helping consumers make nutritious food choices."

    The science-based, proprietary Guiding Stars system, which Hannaford first introduced in September 2006, rates all edible items in the store with zero to three stars, representing good, better or best nutritional value, respectively. The system has analyzed, evaluated and rated over 50,000 food items to date. Advisory panel members on the program hail from University of North Carolina, Dartmouth School of Medicine, Tufts University, the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, Harvard University, and the University of California-Davis.

    According to GSLC, since the system has been implemented, consumer selection of starred items is growing three to four times faster than that of non-starred items.

    "Obesity and related diseases continue to be serious problems, and we're committed to being part of the broader public health solution," said GSLC director of brand and business development John Eldredge. "We're emphasizing how Guiding Stars can help licensees meet consumer demand for accurate, at-a-glance nutritional guidance, build customer loyalty and define participating companies as leading providers of nutritional solutions."

    "Although Guiding Stars started as an in-store navigation system, it was designed to be applicable to front-of-package labeling and restaurant and foodservice menus as well," said Eldredge.

    Scarborough, Maine-based GSLC has a 10-person staff with extensive food retail, IT, customer service and marketing experience. For more information visit www.guidingstars.com.

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