Grocery food rating system helps shoppers choose healthier

Atlantic Superstores and Save Easy grocery stores on P.E.I. are using a new rating system that helps shoppers choose healthier items on the shelves.

Guiding Stars program launches in P.E.I. Atlantic Superstore, SaveEasy grocery stores

Ellen Panting, Atlantic Superstore's registered dietician, says all the food in the store has been rated under the Guiding Stars program. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

Atlantic Superstores and SaveEasy grocery stores on P.E.I. are using a new rating system that helps shoppers choose healthier items on the shelves.

A couple of months ago, stars started showing up in the lower right corner of price tags in the stores as part of the Guiding Stars food rating program.              

The rankings range from zero to three stars, with three being the healthier foods.              

Ellen Panting, Superstore's registered dietician, says all food in the store, including fresh produce, has been rated.

Independent nutrition guidance program Guiding Stars has launched in some P.E.I. grocery stores. (Laura Chapin/CBC)
"For things like high fibre, vitamins and minerals, and whole grains. And are debited for having trans fats, saturated fat, added sugar and added sodium."

Dietician Roxanne Laughlin, who runs her own private practice in Charlottetown, says there is good science behind the rankings, but she wants people to still read nutrition labels, not just rely on Guiding Stars.

"It doesn't tease out all the little subtle differences between products. But having that visual, that cue, maybe the difference that accounts for somebody picking up a healthier product."              

This is the first time shopper Lorna Burdett has heard about the program. She reads food labels because she wants to avoid gluten.

"I think that's great, especially for people who don't read labels. The stars are a great idea."              

Superstore plans a formal launch of the program on P.E.I. later this month.

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