- Guiding Stars, the nutrition labeling program used by several U.S. Ahold Delhaize banners and other retailers, has updated its logo and the graphics it uses to help shoppers more easily identify healthy foods when shopping in physical stores or online, according to a press release.
- The revised star icons that serve as the visual centerpiece of the program now feature an apple and include the words "good," "better" or "best" in addition to the one, two or three gold stars Guiding Stars has used since inception to rate items.
- Guiding Stars is revamping its look amid growing efforts by retailers to help consumers make nutritious choices when shopping for groceries.
Ahold Delhaize has used Guiding Stars to differentiate its grocery stores since 2006, when the Dutch company introduced the program at its Hannaford banner. Food Lion joined Guiding Stars in 2007, followed by Stop & Shop, Giant Food and The Giant Company, which began using the rating system in 2018.
Guiding Stars assigns one-, two- or three-star ratings based on algorithms that evaluate foods based on the nutrients and ingredients they contain. The program takes into account nutritional guidelines from federal agencies, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization.
Products earn points if they provide nutrients considered beneficial and lose them if they contain things like saturated fat, added sodium and artificial colors that are considered detrimental to health. Only foods that have positive ratings receive Guiding Stars graphics in stores and online.
The updated one- and two-star graphics feature outlined stars to emphasize that those ratings are out of a possible total of three stars. Located in the center of the logo is a new compass design that indicates the direction Guiding Stars gives.
Shoppers can see the star ratings on product packaging and shelf tags and when viewing product descriptions online. E-commerce customers can elect to filter products based on the ratings they have been assigned.
Guiding Stars is also used by foodservice programs at the University of New Hampshire, a New Hampshire hospital and two middle schools in the state and at the University of North Dakota.
Ahold Delhaize is not the only grocery chain that provides customers with nutrition guidance as they shop. In January 2020, SpartanNash introduced a program called Nutrition Pathways that highlights 22 nutrition and lifestyle characteristics in stores operated by several of its banners and online.
Supermarkets have been stepping up their efforts to help customers make healthy eating choices as part of their efforts to maintain customer relationships they built as people heightened their shopping at grocery stores during the pandemic. For instance, a number of grocery chains, such as Hy-Vee and Kroger and Natural Grocers, offer customers virtual access to dietitians in an effort to help shoppers select healthy foods.