Hannaford to License 'Guiding Stars' Program

SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- Hannaford Supermarkets said yesterday that it would license its "Guiding Stars" nutritional rating system early next year, to make it available for use by other supermarket chains, as well as vendors and health care groups.

"With obesity, and related diseases, continuing to be a serious problem, Hannaford is committed to being a part of the broader public health solution," noted Hannaford c.e.o. and president Ronald Hodge of the decision to export the program beyond the Delhaize universe.

Rolled out in September 2006, the program is now in place at 164 Hannaford Supermarkets in the Northeast, and 106 Sweetbay stores in central and western Florida.

Out of over 25,500 rated food items storewide, more than one-quarter (28 percent) have earned one, two, or three stars for good, better or best nutritional value, Hannaford said.

"Since its inception, we have received numerous inquiries about the program from supermarkets, vendors, schools, health care professionals, and others inquiring about how to obtain Guiding Stars," said Hannaford s.v.p. Mark Doiron. "Following publication of [highly positive] first-year results, interest has picked up significantly."

The grocer is hashing out details of the licensing agreement it will to offer.

"Guiding Stars is currently an in-store navigation system," explained Hannaford spokeswoman Caren Epstein. "It includes signs, shelf tags, an advertising campaign, collateral materials, training materials, a web site, and community outreach, among other elements.... What we're looking at is how it might be modified for other purposes without compromising its integrity."

"We know we have a program that works and has demonstrated results," added Doiron. "We're optimistic about the opportunity to share it with a broader audience."
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