From time-to-time I like to host guest bloggers to my column. Today the guest blogger is Betsy Craig, CEO of MenuTrinfo – a company that works with restaurants simplifying creating nutritionals for their customers. They can analyze a restaurateur’s entire menu or simply a few select items to present as a healthy options menu.
Nutrition labeling at grocery stores hardly sounds newsworthy without the full scoop. Packaged foods have been sporting nutrition information since the FDA began requiring food producers to include nutritional information on all packaged foods. In fact, grocery stores now contain so much information on foods that many consumers are calling “uncle” on the whole thing. Just last week grocer Safeway took a big step in helping its shoppers interpret food labels, keep informed on products which are safe for those with food allergies/sensitivities, and generally help shoppers to make healthy choices without having to read labels in entirety.
The Safeway program is called SimpleNutrition. According to the SimpleNutrition website: “Our SimpleNutrition program helps you make better nutrition choices in our stores and right here on our website.”
Safeway is planning to achieve that goal through a system of in-store tags and a helpful website, which will further help Safeway shoppers to interpret the tag system and plan healthy choices for themselves and their families.
What we find really exciting about the SimpleNutrition program is their innovative use of shelf tags to help diners aiming to eat healthy or those with food allergens or dietary restrictions know at a glance if a product is a good choice for them.
Safeway begins the process by screening products to meet their SimpleNutrition criteria, a set of guidelines developed from the FDA nutritional guidelines, Institute of Medicine, Department of Agriculture, and a team of nutritionists.
In total, Safeway has outlined 26 different categories of items for SimpleNutrition tags in stores.
Four are diet/lifestyle centric: Gluten Free, Organic, Natural and Calorie Smart
eighteen are concerned with specific ingredients/nutritional elements: Sugar Free, Made with Whole Grains, Good Source of Fiber, Sodium Smart, Fat Free, Low Saturated Fat, Low Fat, Good Source of Calcium, Good Source of Vitamin C, Good Source of Vitamin A, Good Source of Iron, 0 Grams Trans Fat, 100% Juice, Low Cholesterol, Good Source of Antioxidants, Good Source of Potassium, Good Source of Folate, Lean Protein When a product qualifies for one of the 22 categories, Safeway then places an additional shelf tag next to that item which highlights its nutritional benefit, which in turn will promote those products deemed “healthier” to shoppers.
We love this innovative use of nutritional information which will clearly serve both Safeway and shoppers alike. By presenting the information, consumers can feel comfortable and find convenience in shopping for their families knowing that Safeway has done the ground work for them, tracking down products which value
nutrition. Then in turn, Safeway will reap the rewards of increased purchase of products it selects to highlight through the SimpleNutrition program. We think that’s some real smart marketing in our opinion.
MenuTrinfo – Nutritionals for restaurants
Call toll free 888-767-MENU
Follow their blog for updates on nutrition http://menutrinfo.com/blog/