'Guiding Stars' Rolling Out First School Nutritional Navigation System

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'Guiding Stars' Rolling Out First School Nutritional Navigation System

In the same month that Ahold USA chains Stop & Shop and Giant Food, LLC launched their "Healthy Ideas" on-shelf symbol to designate better-for-you foods for the benefit of shoppers, Hannaford Supermarkets' "Guiding Stars" nutritional navigation system, which has been implemented in over 1,400 Delhaize America-owned grocery stores, will introduce what it says is the first-ever school nutritional rating system in Maine School Administrative District 75 (MSAD 75).

Guiding Stars Licensing Co. (GSLC), in collaboration with MSAD 75, will this month begin rating prepared meals, snacks, salad bar, and grab-and-go items by nutritional value. Each item rated will receive zero to three stars for an at-a-glance analysis of the food’s nutritional content.

The plan is for the program to be in place at the school system by the end of January, or early February at the very latest, according to GSLC.

"We're looking to make nutritious choices simple, practical, and fun and are thrilled to bring this program to middle and high school age students for the first time," said GSLC director of brand and business development John Eldredge. "Guiding Stars is a natural fit for school foodservice programs, and we're committed to being a part of the broader public health solution."

The pioneering Guiding Stars system debuted in select grocery stores in September 2006. The science-based program is now on shelf tags and signage in 1,177 Food Lion Stores in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, 167 Hannaford locations in the Northeast, and 108 Sweetbay stores in central and western Florida. The program is supported by a 10-person team with significant food retail, IT, customer service and marketing experience.

Scarborough, Maine-based GSLC was formed last year to expand licensing opportunities for the Guiding Stars program to retailers outside of the Delhaize family, food product manufacturers, restaurant chains, foodservice distributors, and other institutional foodservice providers.