VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — FARM FRESH announced today the launch of “nutrition iQ ,” a unique at-a-glance nutrition information program designed to help consumers make better-informed, better-for-you food choices right at the grocery store shelf. nutrition iQ was developed in collaboration with Joslin Clinic, part of an academic medical center affiliated with Boston’s Harvard Medical School. The nutrition iQ program is available in the 44 FARM FRESH supermarkets located in Hampton Roads and Richmond, Virginia and Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
The nutrition iQ program comes as research shows that consumers are having difficulty making sense of nutrition guidelines and are looking for an easier way to make informed food choices for better health. For example, approximately three in five consumers think diet and nutrition are very important, yet more than half say they need practical tips to help them eat right and 41 percent don’t know or understand nutrition guidelines, according to the American Dietetic Association.1
The nutrition iQ program uses easy-to-see, color-coded shelf tags – hung just below an item’s price tag – to help consumers quickly identify healthier food choices for themselves and their families.
“FARM FRESH is committed to helping its customers lead healthy lifestyles,” said Ron Dennis, president and COO of FARM FRESH. “With more than 60,000 items on our grocery store shelves, it can take considerable time to read and compare nutrition labels. The nutrition iQ program provides a convenient way for consumers to evaluate food choices on the spot as they shop.”
“Poor food choices contribute to many health problems, including obesity and heart disease,” said Nora Saul, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., nutrition services manager, Joslin Clinic. “We’re pleased to have been able to contribute our nutritional expertise to a program that offers people a way to make healthy eating choices.”
How nutrition iQ works
The nutrition iQ program uses established U.S. Food and Drug Administration Nutrient Content Claims as a framework for evaluating foods throughout the store regardless of manufacturer, brand or price. Under the nutrition iQ program, products are initially screened against a set of qualifying criteria to ensure that the items are, at a base level, better for you. Foods such as cookies, soft drinks, candy, shortening, oils and syrup were excluded from the program because they did not meet the threshold criteria.
Products meeting the threshold criteria are then evaluated further to determine the top one or two nutritional benefits or attributes of each product, which are then called out for consumers on color-coded nutrition iQ shelf tags.
The program covers 11 nutrient claims in seven categories with shelf tags color-coded as follows:
The tags are located on the store shelf below the product’s price, unit price and bar code. These at-a-glance cues help point consumers toward healthy food options, and supplement more detailed information found on the “Nutrition Facts” portion of food labels, should consumers wish to compare products further.
The nutrition iQ program will roll out in two phases, with the first phase focusing on items found in the center-store grocery, frozen and dairy areas where research shows that people have the most frustrations and encounter the most questions regarding food labeling. Approximately 1,600 products have qualified for tags as part of the first phase. Products in the bakery, deli, meat, produce and seafood categories will be evaluated and tagged as part of phase two.
“As a dietitian, I’ve learned that healthy eating isn’t easy, especially given the vast number of products to choose from on the grocery store shelf,” said FARM FRESH dietitian Jennifer Shea, MS, MPH, RD. “nutrition iQ will promote overall health by taking the guesswork out of shopping for more nutritious food choices. It’s like having your own personal dietitian in the store with you.”
According to Dennis, the nutrition iQ program will be of particular interest to grocery shoppers in this market. “Local residents pride themselves on being fit, making good food choices and leading healthier lifestyles. The nutrition iQ program is part of our commitment to be a conduit of information for shoppers and make it easy for them to lead the healthy lifestyles they enjoy.”
Source: Farm Fresh