Giant Food, GIANT/MARTIN’S and Stop & Shop are the latest supermarket chains to roll out the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program, which highlights particularly healthful items. Products can have one-star, two-star or three-star ratings, representing whether they have good, better or the best nutritional value.
The labels will appear at all 166 Giant, 171 GIANT/MARTIN’s and 410 Stop & Shop locations, as well as on tens of thousands of items offered by the Peapod grocery delivery service. Peadpod will let customers sort products by their Guiding Star rating on its e-Commerce site.
The Guiding Stars program is consistent with the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, and aims to offer shoppers a quick and easy way to estimate a product’s overall healthfulness. Items without a star rating are either not nutritionally recommended; not yet rated; contain less than five calories; are considered medical food; or don’t have available nutrition information.
Guiding Stars is the second rating program adopted by Giant. In 2017, the retailer introduced the HowGood system, which identifies products based on factors such as ingredient sourcing and labor practices.
Making it easier for consumers to pick out healthy food can be a sales driver for supermarkets: 52% of Americans plan on eating healthier in 2018, according to a survey from ORC International on behalf of Peapod. Additionally, Nielsen found that 67% of shoppers say they will prioritize healthy or socially conscious food purchases this year.
Food retailers have been introducing alternative nutrition labeling systems for years, as many shoppers don’t properly comprehend standard nutrition labels, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Food Lion launched Guiding Stars at all its stores in 2008, and Hannaford carries the labels as well. All five grocery chains are operated by parent company Ahold Delhaize. In Canada, the Guiding Star system is used by Loblaws.
Walmart launched the Great For You icon in 2012 to help shoppers quickly identify healthy products. Its requirements are informed by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Institute of Medicine.
Whole Foods uses a variety of systems, including a list of unacceptable ingredients, an Eco-Scale rating system for cleaning products, a 5-step animal welfare rating for meat and a color-coded sustainability scale for seafood.