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Grocery Shoppers Are Following Stars to More Nutritious Choices

Hannaford Supermarkets Releases First-year Results of Guiding Stars,

Nation's First Storewide "Star" Nutrition Rating System

SCARBOROUGH, Maine, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer selection of foods that offer more nutrition for the calories are outpacing selection of those that don't in many aisles of Hannaford Supermarkets -- in some cases, three to four times faster -- according to data in the year since the company launched Guiding Stars, a unique, easy-to-use storewide system created to help Hannaford shoppers make more informed nutritional choices. Out of a total of more than 25,500 rated food items throughout the store, more than one-quarter (28 percent) receive one, two or three Stars for good, better or best nutritional value.

Promising First-Year Momentum

Data from the first 12 months of Hannaford's program, compared to the same time period one year prior to Guiding Stars' launch in September 2006, reveal:

-- The greatest change was in the packaged foods section of the store --

cereals, commercial bakery (e.g., breads, rolls), canned/jarred foods

(e.g., soups, pasta sauces, fruits, vegetables), dry products (e.g.,

pasta, crackers), snack foods and beverages. Selection of packaged

foods with one, two or three Stars grew steadily at 2 1/2 times the

rate of those without Stars.

-- Selection of fattier meat declined -- Starred ground beef (90% or more

fat-free) selection increased by 7 percent, while ground beef without

Stars dropped by 5 percent. Starred chicken grew at 5 percent, while

chicken without Stars decreased by 3 percent. Movement of all meats

and poultry with Stars grew at more than 2 1/2 times the rate of those

with no Stars.

-- Selection of whole milk (no Stars) dropped by 4 percent, while that of

fat-free milk (three Stars) rose 1 percent.

-- Selection of breakfast cereals with Stars increased 3 1/2 times more

than no-Star cereals, which increased only slightly.

-- Movement of yogurts with Stars grew more than 3 1/2 times faster than

no-Star yogurts.

-- Movement of Starred frozen dinners/entrees outpaced frozen no-Stars,

growing about 4 1/2 times faster than frozen dinners/entrees without


The constant: fresh fruits and vegetables -- all fresh produce gets Stars. A few sections of the store, namely seafood and bakery, showed no impact from Guiding Stars.

"We're talking about more than a billion food product decisions since Guiding Stars was launched," said Caren Epstein, director of external communications at Hannaford.

"The genesis of the idea came from our shoppers themselves -- we talked to them about different ways we could help make the time they spend in our stores an even better experience, they told us about their confusion and frustration with available nutritional information, and that led to Guiding Stars," said Epstein. "These first-year results indicate to us that we're definitely on the right track in offering our customers a useful tool that can help improve their shopping time with us."

A recent survey of 744 shoppers from Hannaford's customer panel also shows positive momentum:

-- Awareness of Guiding Stars is at an all-time high -- Customer awareness

of the system has grown to 81 percent, the highest level of awareness


-- Shoppers use the system time and again -- Half of those aware of

Guiding Stars say they use it "fairly often."

Two categories not yet rated are coming shortly:

-- Baby foods will be rated starting September 15. Parents may be happy

to know that 82 percent of all baby foods in the store receive at least

one Star.

-- Star ratings for oils and other fats will be in Hannaford stores toward

the end of this year.

The only category not rated is bottled waters, coffees, teas, spices and other foods with five or fewer calories per manufacturer's serving size because they are not a significant source of nutrients.

All other foods with no Stars are foods that do not meet the nutritional criteria to earn a Star.

Guiding Stars Background

Hannaford's Guiding Stars system, introduced in September 2006, has analyzed, evaluated and rated more than 25,500 food items in all Hannaford stores to date. The system features one, two or three Star ratings -- representing good, better or best nutritional value, respectively, on unit price tags throughout all Hannaford stores.

The foundation of Hannaford's Guiding Stars navigation system is a proprietary formula (patent pending) that analyzes food products and assigns them a rating. Developed by an expert scientific panel, the formula credits a food's score for the presence of vitamins and minerals, fiber and whole grains. It debits the score for trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. The criteria support the recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and offer a quick complement to the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient list.

Guiding Stars relies on information that is readily available to the consumer and provided through the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient list. If the food is not packaged -- as with fruits, vegetable and meats -- the data comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Advisory panel members are from the University of North Carolina, Dartmouth School of Medicine, Tufts University, the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, Harvard University and the University of California-Davis.

Hannaford Bros. Co., based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 160 stores under the Hannaford Supermarket and Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy names. Hannaford stores feature Guiding Stars, America's first storewide nutrition navigation system. Hannaford employs more than 26,000 associates. The company is owned by Delhaize Group of Brussels, Belgium. Additional information can be found at


Caren Epstein, 207.885.3132

SOURCE Hannaford Supermarkets
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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