The program was developed in collaboration with the Joslin Clinic, part of an academic medical center affiliated with Harvard Medical School that works on health and nutrition issues, and will be implemented across Supervalu’s several grocery store brands.
The new system – which it has called ‘nutrition iQ’ – will see labels appear on shelves beside prices, rather than on the products themselves, to call attention to their top nutritional attributes. The company said that it is rolling out the scheme in two phases, starting with “center-store grocery, frozen and dairy areas, where research shows that people have the most frustrations...regarding food labeling” and following with bakery, deli, meat, produce, and seafood, with the eventual goal of labeling around ten percent of the store’s products.
The colored labels will cover seven nutrition claims, with orange tags standing for an “excellent or good” source of fiber; blue for calcium; yellow for protein; dark orange for whole grains; purple for low calorie; red for low saturated fat; and dark green for low or healthier levels of sodium.
A Supervalu spokesperson told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “While a wealth of nutrition and food content information is already available to customers on product labels and from other resources, it can often be overwhelming or confusing to find better, more nutritious products.”
Some products and categories which do not generally meet the scheme’s requirements for low levels of salt, sugar or saturated fat will be excluded. Excluded categories include candies and gums, cookies, ice-cream, dietetic foods, shortening and oils, syrups and baby food.
The company added: “Some of these items, however, may still contain other important nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals or healthy fats, that can fit as part of a balanced diet.”
Supervalu intends to invest in a range of marketing tools to promote the scheme, according to the company spokesperson.
Although she would not reveal the precise level of investment, she added that the scheme is “something we think any successful retailer needs today in order to thrive and meet the needs of consumers, who are showing an increased interest in making healthy food choices.”