MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — SUPERVALU(R) (NYSE: SVU), the nation’s third largest grocery retailer, today announced the launch of “nutrition iQ(TM),” a unique nutrition information program designed to help consumers make better-informed, better-for-you food choices right at the store shelf. The program was developed and implemented in collaboration with Joslin Clinic, part of an academic medical center affiliated with Harvard Medical School internationally recognized for its work. The nutrition iQ program will roll out across SUPERVALU’s family of grocery stores nationwide, including Acme(R), Albertsons(R), bigg’s(R), Cub Foods(R), Farm Fresh(R), Hornbacher’s(R), Jewel-Osco(R), Lucky(R), Shaw’s/Star Market(TM), Shop ‘n Save(R), and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy(R), over the next six months.
The nutrition iQ program comes as research shows that consumers are having difficulty making sense of nutrition guidelines and are looking for an easier way to make informed food choices for better health. For example, approximately three in five consumers think diet and nutrition are very important, yet more than half say they need practical tips to help them eat right and 41 percent don’t know or understand nutrition guidelines, according to the American Dietetic Association.(1)
“SUPERVALU is committed to helping its customers lead healthy lifestyles. The nutrition iQ program is designed to provide consumers with a credible, easy-to-understand, at-a-glance approach to healthy eating using a common set of criteria to objectively evaluate all of the products within our stores – regardless of manufacturer, brand or price,” said Jeff Noddle, SUPERVALU chairman and CEO.
“Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases afflicting Latino families, and obesity is a significant contributing factor. Both conditions can be greatly impacted by eating healthier foods, but with so many choices, it is not always easy to determine what is healthier for each individual,” said Andreina Millan Ferro, Dietitian, Patient Education Coordinator with the Latino Diabetes Initiative at the Joslin Clinic. “Store-based programs that offer credible, nutrition guidance at the point of sale can serve as a useful tool to help Latino families make healthier food choices, which can ultimately lead to the prevention of obesity and diabetes.”
According to Joslin Diabetes Center’s Latino Diabetes Initiative, more than 10 percent of all Latinos in the U.S. have diabetes, one-third of whom remain undiagnosed. Their risk of developing diabetes is 1.5 times greater than non-Latino Americans.
nutrition iQ uses established U.S. Food and Drug Administration Nutrient Content Claims as a framework to determine the nutritional benefits of items that pass a set of qualifying criteria and are, at a base level, better for you. Products meeting the threshold criteria are then further evaluated to identify their top one or two nutritional benefits, which are called out for consumers on color-coded nutrition iQ shelf tags.
The program covers 11 different nutrient claims in seven categories with the shelf tags color-coded as follows:
— excellent or good source of fiber are denoted by orange tags,
— excellent or good source of calcium by blue tags,
— excellent or good source of protein by yellow tags,
— low or healthier level of sodium by dark green tags,
— low calorie by a purple tag,
— low saturated fat by a red tag, and
— whole grains by a dark orange tag.
The tags are located in an area where consumers naturally look when making food purchases – on the store shelf right below a product’s price, unit price and bar code.
The at-a-glance cues are designed to help point consumers toward healthy food options. The information serves as a supplement to the more detailed information already found on the “Nutrition Facts” portion of food labels, should consumers wish to compare products further.
The nutrition iQ program will roll out in two phases in more than 1,300 SUPERVALU-owned stores nationwide, helping numerous consumers across the country make better-informed, better-for-you food choices for themselves and their families. These stores serve more than 22 million customers each week, which represents approximately 1.14 billion transactions every year.
The first phase of the program will focus on items found in the center-store grocery, frozen and dairy areas, where research shows that people have the most frustrations and encounter the most questions regarding food labeling. Products in the bakery, deli, meat, produce and seafood categories will be evaluated and tagged as part of phase two. The program will encompass products at all price points, making it easy to find better-for-you foods for every budget. Approximately 14 percent of the 30,000 products evaluated during phase one will receive nutrition iQ shelf tags. Long term, the company expects about 10 percent of all products throughout the store to carry the nutrition iQ tag.
Products and categories that do not meet the program’s threshold criteria, which requires an item to have limited levels of sodium, saturated fat and, in some cases, sugar, or lack significant nutritional value, were excluded from nutrition iQ.
Excluded categories include bottled water and soft drinks; candy, gum and mints; coffee and tea; cookies; dietetic foods; ice cream; salts and spices; shelf-stable juices and drinks; shortening and oils; soft drink mixers; syrup; molasses; and baby food. 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.
To learn more about nutrition iQ, go to www.nutritioniq.com.
SUPERVALU INC. is one of the largest companies in the United States grocery channel with estimated annual sales of $45 billion. SUPERVALU holds leading market share positions across the U.S. with approximately 2,500 retail grocery locations, including nearly 920 in-store pharmacies. Through SUPERVALU’s nationwide supply chain network, the company provides distribution and related logistics support services to more than 5,000 grocery endpoints across the country. SUPERVALU currently has approximately 190,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU, visit www.supervalu.com.
(1) American Dietetic Association’s Public Opinion Survey “Nutrition and You: Trends 2008,” Oct. 26, 2008, www.eatright.org/trends2008
SOURCE SUPERVALU INC.