HOULTON, Maine — When shopping for groceries, consumers often have things such as taste and price in mind, so nutrition sometimes takes a back seat.
But shoppers at Paradis Shop ’n Save stores in several Aroostook County towns and in other parts of Maine will have nutrition brought to the forefront thanks to a new partnership between the grocery store chain and Guiding Stars Licensing Co. in Scarborough.
The company created Guiding Stars, the world’s first storewide nutrition navigation system. Guiding Stars recently announced a partnership with Paradis Shop ’n Save to launch the good-better-best nutrition rating system in the store.
Paradis Shop ’n Save has six Maine-based locations: Fort Kent, Madawaska, Caribou, Houlton, Calais and Brewer.
With Guiding Stars, each item throughout the grocery store receives a zero- to three-star rating according to its nutritional value.
Company officials said Tuesday that Guiding Stars takes the guesswork out of shopping for nutritious foods by eliminating the need to compare every item in the store, saving shoppers time and money.
“This partnership is going to give shoppers in these stores a quick, easy way to make good nutrition choices for themselves and their families,” Chip LeBlanc, director of operations for Guiding Stars Licensing Co., said Tuesday afternoon. “Food items are awarded zero, one, two or three stars — one star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value.”
“Guiding Stars helps busy shoppers to quickly identify and choose foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories,” added John Eldredge, director of brand and business development at Guiding Stars Licensing Co. “We are pleased to partner with Paradis Shop ’n Save and be a part of its ongoing commitment to offer healthy food choices to their shoppers.”
LeBlanc said the Guiding Stars system was implemented in select grocery stores in the fall of 2006 in response to consumer demand for a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutritional choices as they shop.
Guiding Stars credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then rated with a star.
“We see Guiding Stars as a natural choice to enhance the shopping experience for our customers and offer them nutrition navigation at their fingertips,” said Pat Hebert, director of operations at Paradis Shop ’n Save. “We are excited to welcome Guiding Stars into the Paradis Family Supermarkets, and we feel the program will make nutritious shopping easy, practical and fun for our customers.”
The Guiding Stars program is now on shelf tags and signs in grocery stores throughout the Northeast, Southeast, mid-Atlantic states and Florida, and has also recently launched the first nutrition rating system in a public school, SAD 75 in Topsham, as well as Bates College in Lewiston and the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
Guiding Stars is in more than 1,400 supermarkets on the East Coast, including Food Lion, Hannaford and Sweetbay stores.
Paradis Shop ’n Save was first opened in 1946 by Louis J. Paradis. It has 498 employees.