Following in the footsteps of many other grocery retailers, Safeway is introducing its own nutrition labeling system to the mix.
“Consumers are inundated with conflicting nutrition information and are often skeptical of the nutrition claims on packaging,” said Safeway’s Barbara Walker, group vice president, consumer communications and brand marketing. “SimpleNutrition is an ‘at the shelf’ program that simplifies and personalizes the grocery shopping experience so that shoppers can feel confident about making more informed food choices. While SimpleNutrition is not a replacement for the nutrition panel found on food and beverage packages, it provides shoppers with a quick snapshot of the nutrition and ingredient benefits that best match their nutritional needs.” read the full press release…
There are 22 different benefit tags as Safeway calls them. Here’s a partial list:
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
What you need to know:
Did you notice that there is not a single “disadvantage tag”? All these tags do is encourage shoppers to buy more. We’d like to see shelf tags like
“Contains potentially carcinogenic food dyes”
“More than 6 tsp of sugar per serving”
“Good source of heart attack – over 50% saturated fat”
“Great opportunity to increase blood pressure – over 40% of your daily sodium”
But how can you expect a grocer to turn you off a product that it’s trying to sell. Once again, the limitation of nutrition labeling by interested parties is exposed. While the press release may tout this as a means to quickly convey important information to busy moms, this is in fact another advertising opportunity.
What to do at the supermarket:
If you’d like to see the full nutritional picture behind a product, don’t rely on the grocer or the manufacturer to spell it out for you in any simple to understand terms. Read the Nutrition label AND the ingredient list.
Or you could download and use Fooducate’s free iPhone App. We’ll tell you both the good and the bad about a product.