On 26 June 2008, I drew your attention to the "Guiding Stars" programme by Hannaford Brothers, which was the first case where a distributor - in the name of the responsibility it has towards its consumers - displayed the nutritional quality of all products available in the store (including national brands). I concluded my post by saying, "The distribution plays a role here: provide information and transparency on ALL products to a consumer in search of clues. It is the consumer who will win in this debate on nutrition". This initiative has been followed by other retailers:
- United Supermarkets (and Market Street) in January launched its "Tag Labelling" system (created by its own dieticians) that, by means of shelf placards, show the presence of products that are Organic (O), have low sugar content (S), are gluten-free (GF), low fat (L), good for the heart (HH) or good in case of a diabetic diet (DM).
- Supervalu (followed by Albertson's and the 1300 stores of the 3rd largest U.S. network) has initiated a new system of nutrition information, "Nutrition IQ", developed with the help of Joslin Clinic, a university medical centre affiliated with Harvard Medical School. To qualify for the iQ label, the product must have reduced levels of salt, sugars and saturated fats. Only around 14% of the 30,000 products already evaluated carry the label: their essential nutritional benefits will be indicated on the price label. "Excellent or good source of fibre" is denoted by orange tags, "excellent or good source of calcium" by blue tags, "excellent or good source of protein" by yellow tags, "low or healthier level of sodium" by dark-green tags, "low-calorie" by a purple tag, "low saturated fat" by a red tag and "whole grains" by a dark-orange tag. " However some categories remain on the sidelines of this nutritional assessment ...
The movement is therefore irreversible: all U.S. distributors, taking advantage of the national debate on obesity and the nutritional qualities of products, create evaluation grids and apply them to most of the products they have on the shelves. Here is a great way of putting pressure on national brands ... When will such a system be implemented in Europe?