Sweetbay Implementing Guiding Stars Labeling Program

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sweetbay Supermarket, a subsidiary of the Delhaize Group, has adapted the Guiding Stars program from its sister chain, Hannaford Supermarkets, in a bid to address shoppers' health-and-wellness concerns.

Guiding Stars, which was introduced at Hannaford's stores in New England last year, is a system using shelf labels to rate products with one, two, or three stars based on nutrition virtues. A panel of academic health professionals created the rating system.

At Sweetbay, only 6,000 of the 27,000 foods found in a typical supermarket were nutritious enough to garner a rating, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times. Baby food wasn't included because infants have different nutritional needs. Beer and wine were also not rated.

The ratings of one, two, and three stars stand for good, better, or the best combination of nutritional virtues. Foods get bonus points for dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and whole grains. Points are subtracted for saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and added sodium or sugars.

While 94 percent of the produce department and 55 percent of the cereals were nutritious enough to be rated, only 8 percent of the deli and 5 percent of the bakery were, according to the report.

Hannaford reportedly said it found unit sales of rated items rose 10 percent to 15 percent after the labels appeared.
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