Kroger applies nutrition-ranking system to food

NEW YORK —With supermarkets increasingly aiming for customers conscious about their health, some have adopted ways to make eating choices easier. One way some have highlighted health is to apply nutrition-ranking systems, such as the numerical NuVal and the color-coded Nutrition iQ system used by Minneapolis-based Supervalu.

The Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader reported in early March that Ohio-based Kroger would begin testing the NuVal system at 23 stores in central Kentucky, including all of its Lexington stores. Kroger follows regional supermarket chains Hy-Vee and Price Chopper, which were the first to adopt NuVal; Midwestern mass merchandise chain Meijer; and most recently, Texas-based United Supermarkets, which is using the system in its Amigos United and Market Street chains.

A joint venture between Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., and Topco Associates, NuVal assigns each food item a score of 1 to 100 based on such factors as protein, calcium and vitamins, as well as fat, sodium and cholesterol, with 100 representing the highest nutritional value. Thus, chewy Nabisco Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies have a score of 2, while red tomatoes have a score of 96.

Nutrition iQ, developed by Supervalu and the Harvard Medical School’s Joslin Clinic, works in a similar way, assigning color codes to different foods based on quantities of nutrients, such as protein, fiber and fat.

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