news & trends

Smiles in the Grocery Store

My Healthy Plate with Metro program has recently been announced in Ontario and Quebec. With a goal to help customers adopt healthier eating habits, the program highlights healthy choices using “smile” icons. The smiles are found on the product’s shelf price label, and identify the “good” and “great” choices in a product category.

Specific nutritional criteria for the “good” and “great” ratings were established for 34 product categories by Metro’s Registered Dietitians. So far, all frozen, dairy and refrigerated products, breakfast items and drinks were evaluated. Remaining grocery categories will be assessed in early 2014.

As we’ve noted in our Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course, grocery stores can be important champions of change. A year ago, Loblaws launched their Guiding Stars Program, identifying foods with one to three stars depending on its nutritional value. Research published in the journal Food Policy found that the Guiding Stars Program shifted consumers’ purchasing habits towards healthier cereals with more star ratings.

And just a few months ago, Sobeys announced their partnership with world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver.  Under a brand positioning “Better food for all”, Sobey’s will focus on four main pillars: enjoying fresh and tasty food; shopping for healthy and wholesome products; saving time; and choosing sustainable products. Sobey’s is the first major retailer in North America to offer Certified Humane®chicken, pork and beef meaning that the animal was treated humanely from birth to slaughter, including having a nutritious diet without antibiotics or hormones, and sufficient space/resting areas.

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