Guiding Stars Part of Nutrition-focused Social Platform

In collaboration with Guiding Stars and Wellness Layers, Premera Blue Cross has introduced Serve it Up!, a free, nutrition-focused social platform that helps users make more nutritious food choices at home and in the supermarket by presenting the healthiest selection first.

The platform offers tools to assemble and share healthy shopping lists and recipes, coupons to lower food shopping costs, and social engagement among the Serve it Up! community. Additionally available as a free mobile application, Serve it Up! can be licensed by other population wellness companies, and is designed to complement and integrate with wellness incentive programs.

“Premera is committed to creating innovative products that support health and wellness,” said Neal Sofian, director of member engagement at Mountlake Terrace, Wash.-based Premera Blue Cross. “Serve it Up! is a testament to this commitment as the nutrition-focused, digital platform engages people in their health in ways they wouldn’t commonly expect from a health insurance company.”

“For too long, the importance of nutrition has largely been ignored in the national health care discussion, despite the fact that what you eat plays such a large role in your overall health,” noted John Eldredge, strategy consultant for Scarborough, Maine-based Guiding Stars. “Premera is a progressive industry leader that is moving nutrition to the forefront of the wellness discussion. Premera’s vision, paired with the synergy of the Guiding Stars program and Wellness Layers’ innovative technology, provides consumers with a smart, simple and convenient tool to make more nutritious food choices.”

Playing it Smart

Serve it Up! has a “smart” shopping list builder that educates users on what foods are healthiest according to Guiding Stars’ patented nutrition rating system. The “smart” shopping list database offers nutrition information for more than 100,000 fresh, prepared and pre-packaged food items. Each food is evaluated using proprietary criteria based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other national evidence-based nutrition policies.

The platform encourages users to create profiles and engage with the Serve it Up! community. Once connected, users can find, share and rate recipes and shopping lists, as well as personalize their member profiles based on dietary preferences, enabling them to receive customized recommendations, take part in community discussions, give and receive advice, and garner support based on specific dietary conditions or concerns.

The technology behind Serve it Up! was created by Wellness Layers, an East Rockaway, N.Y.-based developer of portal ecosystems and mobile applications for the health-and-wellness industry.

“We leveraged our years of expertise to make the experience fun and collaborative and well-suited to serve as a funnel into other wellness management and incentive programs, further promoting improved health and prevention,” noted Wellness Layers CEO Amir Kishon, PhD.

Guiding Stars is now found in more than 1,800 supermarkets in North America, among them Hannaford, Food Lion, Sweetbay, Homeland, Marsh, B&R and Mar-Val in the United States, in addition to more than 350 Loblaws, Provigo and Provigo Le Marche stores in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. The program has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals, and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application.

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