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Shaw’s Supermarkets has rolled out “nutrition iQ,” an in-store nutrition navigation system developed to help customers make healthier food choices at the shelf, in its stores, which include companion banner Star Markets.
Developed with the input of Joslin Clinic, part of an academic medical center affiliated with Harvard Medical School, nutrition iQ employs color-coded shelf tags and signs for more than 3,200 food items throughout the store. The colored tags spotlight the foods’ key nutrients and health attributes. For instance, dark-orange tags call out whole grain foods, while yellow tags signify products that are good or excellent sources of protein. nutrition iQ items made the cut after a rigorous scientific screening process by which Shaw’s evaluated almost every product it carries. In addition to the color-coded signs and tags the program features a website and in-store brochure.
“At Shaw’s, we know our shoppers are looking for trustworthy information about the foods they buy,” noted Shaw’s registered dietitian Jennifer Shea. “Our goal is to make healthy eating enjoyable. nutrition iQ takes the guesswork out of shopping for nutritious food choices and helps people choose foods that follow the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines. By highlighting the nutrition attributes and health benefits, we can help consumers understand how nutritional factors influence their diet so they know what to buy to give them a better chance of realizing success in managing their health.”
According to Amy Campbell, Joslin’s clinical education manager, nutrition iQ uses established FDA Nutrient Content Claims as a framework to rate foods regardless of their manufacturer, brand or price. Each label identifies one to three nutrition benefits.
Observed Campbell: “nutrition iQ can help lessen consumers’ confusion and promote healthier eating and good nutrition without having to decipher difficult-to-understand food labels. Its simplicity not only makes it easier for consumers to understand the often confusing Nutrition Facts food label, it [also] enables them to choose foods specifically for the health benefits that they provide, such as bone health or digestive health.”
The program hits all 169 Shaw’s/Star Markets stores this week, accompanied by an ad and promotions campaign to raise shopper awareness. The Supervalu-owned chain will additionally help shoppers get the most out of the program by offering weekly guidance and tips on the Shaw’s Facebook page, including a video grocery tour, events and new recipes. Further, Shaw’s will host a Facebook chat with Shea on Thursday, July 28 at 4 p.m. to teach shoppers how to fill their carts with the “right” colors to meet their nutrient needs.
The nutrition iQ system is already in place at Shaw's sister banners Albertsons, where Supervalu first introduced it in 2009; Acme; Cub Foods; Farm Fresh; Hornbacher’s; Jewel-Osco; and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy. The program originally focused on center store, but earlier this year, Minneapolis-based Supervalu expanded it to the perimeter departments. Supervalu banners Lucky and Shop 'n Save are expected to implement nutrition iQ soon, according to the program's website.