January 15, 2009

Supervalu to flag healthful foods

Supervalu Inc., the No. 3 U.S. supermarket chain, says it will start labeling the products on its shelves that meet government health recommendations.

The new nutrition iQ program, developed in collaboration with Joslin Clinic, affiliated with Harvard Medical School, will show tags of various colors next to products that meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration criteria for nutrient content, Supervalu said.

Foods determined to be excellent or good sources of fiber will get orange tags, for instance, while foods deemed excellent or good sources of calcium will get blue tags. Products with low saturated fat will carry a red tag and low-calorie food will have a purple tag.

The program covers 11 different nutrient claims in seven categories, said the chain, the third-largest U.S. food retailer by sales after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co.

If a product meets multiple criteria, it will have more than one colored tag.

The program will roll out across Supervalu's 1,300 stores in the next six months and be completed by the end of the year, the suburban Minneapolis company said.

Supervalu's supermarkets include Acme, Albertsons, Bigg's, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw's/Star Market, Shop 'n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.

The company said it expects about 10 percent of its food products will carry the nutrition iQ tag.