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Survey: Americans seek simpler solutions to interpreting the nutrition facts panel, identifying healthy foods

BY Allison Cerra

SCARBOROUGH, Maine A new survey from Guiding Stars, the world’s first storewide nutrition navigation system, found that two-thirds (67%) of Americans are only somewhat confident, at best, they can select healthy foods from the Nutrition Facts Panel.

While nutrition is top-of-mind for many Americans, many are not using the Nutrition Facts Panel to its full potential. In fact, the survey found that 74% of people find the Nutrition Facts Panel to be either “exhausting to read” (28%), “difficult to understand” (24%), “not helpful” (11%) or “something to ignore” (11%). While the Nutrition Facts Panel is essential to help shoppers identify the nutrients in packaged foods, many Americans seek easier-to-use tools that can help them quickly identify nutritious options.

According to the survey, 1-in-4 Americans would prefer a good-better-best rating of nutritional value, in their supermarket. Guiding Stars’ nutrition navigation system rates each food item with zero-to-three stars based on the nutrition value obtained from the Nutrition Facts Panel. It eliminates the need to compare every food item in the store, serving as a simple, easy-to-understand tool to help shoppers quickly identify more nutritious foods as they shop, the company said.

The system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars ¬ one star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value.

“Our research shows that there’s a need in the marketplace for a simpler solution to help identify healthier food choices,” said John Eldredge, director of brand and business development at Guiding Stars Licensing Co. “Guiding Stars offers this solution by interpreting the Nutrition Facts Panel to help shoppers more easily identify foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories, and make it easier than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

The Guiding Stars system was first implemented in select grocery stores in September 2006. The Guiding Stars program is now on shelf tags and signage in grocery stores throughout the East Coast and recently launched the first nutrition navigation system in a public school and college.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Some phosphate-free dish detergents work, Consumer Reports finds

BY Allison Cerra

YONKERS, N.Y. Consumer Reports this month named four low-phosphate dishwasher detergents as “recommended products” in its latest tests.

Consumer Reports tested 24 low- or no-phosphate dish detergents and found that Finish Quantum (30 cents per load) topped the ratings, followed by Finish powerball tabs (22 cents per load), which was named “CR best buy,” and scored excellent for dishes and pots, besting some detergents that cost more. Additionally, Cascade Complete all-in-one (28 cents per load) and Cascade with Dawn ActionPacs (23 cents per load) earned a score of very good in CR’s tests.

Past tests found that some low-phosphate products performed the worst overall, but the newest formulations are worth a try, CR said. Other insights in the latest Consumer Reports tests included:

  • Bleach made little difference: Most of the top performers have no bleach, and it didn’t seem to act on baked-on soils. Bleach might help though with tea or similar stains
  • Enzymes might help: Most of the tested detergents have enzymes, which can break up food for easier removal
  • Types might not be a tipoff: Tablets and pacs tended to score high and gels low, but it’s too soon to say whether that trend will continu
  • Quantumatic isn’t worth the price: At $10 (44 cents per load) for the dispenser and first cartridge, Finish Quantumatic dispenses 12 doses of detergent from a cartridge automatically. It performed well, but takes up space in the dishwasher and is less effective than other products that cost less.

Consumer Reports explained that many manufacturers have reformulated their dishwashing products as many U.S. states limited phosphorus in dishwasher detergents to 0.5%, when products previously could contain up to 8.7%. Phosphorus in the form of phosphates help dishwasher detergents clean but also boost algae growth in freshwater, threatening other plants and fish. Soaps for washing dishes by hand are phosphate-free, and phosphates have been limited in laundry detergents since 1994, CR said.

More information on phosphate-free detergents can be found in the September issue of Consumer Reports, available on newsstands Aug. 3 and online at ConsumerReports.org.

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Sun Shower organic iced coffee offers consumers a tasty source of nutrition

BY Anna Mcgrath

ORLANDO, Fla. Sun Shower introduces its new organic iced coffee flavor to it Sun Shower Super Blends line of coffee and tea beverages.

“People love the taste of organic Sun Shower Iced Coffee.  They feel there is nothing like it on the market today and say they would buy it. What more could you want from a new product?” said Chris New, founder, chairman and CEO of NBI Juiceworks, which produces and distributes Sun Shower brand products.  “Sun Shower organic iced coffee provides an excellent source of powerful antioxidants and is the perfect combination of taste and fortified nutrition.  It’s a great alternative to run-of-the-mill, high calorie, poor nutrition, organic and non-organic coffee and tea drinks that are offered in stores today.”

Sun Shower Super Blends organic iced coffee provides consumers with a nutritional package which includes protein, vitamins A and E, zinc, calcium and magnesium but without the sugar or preservatives.

Sun Shower products can be found in the produce and chilled dairy/juice section of major retailers.

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