A leading grocery store chain in Iowa plans to roll-out a new product labeling system. Hy-Vee vice president Ron Taylor says the shelf levels rate a product’s nutritional quality on a scale of one to 100 and it should be less confusing for consumers trying to figure out sugar, fat and salt content on their own.
"So if you’re looking at the shelf and you see ‘Kraft Macaroni and Cheese — 89 cents,’ that little tag will also have the logo on it that shows the score for that particular item," Taylor says. "Then any other sign printed for that particular item, that sign will also print that logo and print that score."
Fresh produce — fruits and vegetables — will in general have higher scores than processed foods, but Taylor says don’t be surprised when you see a fresh vegetable or fruit that doesn’t have a score of 100. "Some will score 100 but not everyone will because some of them are higher in sugar. You know, a very high sugar fruit may not reach 100," Taylor says. "Here’s a good example — avocado. You know avocado is very high in fat. It’s a good fruit and it’s very good for you — that’s good fat — but that’s still going to bring the rating down from 100."
Hy-Vee joins a growing number of supermarket chains implementing similar labeling systems to help consumers fight obesity and heart disease. Some Hy-Vee stores in the Des Moines have been testing the system, with the ratings posted for fresh meat, frozen vegetables, produce and items in the cereal aisle.