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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Healthy Ideas Nutritional Labeling Program

Peapod.com, the online grocery shopping and delivery site, announced that it has joined in Healthy Ideas, making it part of its NutraFilter selection sorter.

NutriFilter acts as a virtual nutritionist, reading product labels and highlighting items that fit a shopper's specific health and nutrition needs from categories like Gluten-free to low-sodium. With the introduction of the Healthy Ideas labeling plan, Peapod shoppers can quickly identify foods that have less fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Healthy Ideas items are also guaranteed to be a good source of at least one nutrient, including protein, fiber, vitamins A or C, or the minerals calcium or iron. ...

NutriFilter is available to anyone who visits Peapod.com. Shoppers simply choose from nine programs including Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Healthy Ideas, Peanut-free, USDA Good Fiber, USDA Low Fat, USDA Low Sodium and Weight Watchers(R). Shoppers search and shop on Peapod as usual, and the items in each category that meet the selected program's criteria will be displayed at the top of the list and clearly identified by the plan icon.

Healthy Ideas was instituted by the bricks and mortar real world supermarket chains Stop and Shop and Giant Foods, sister chains that have 561 stores in the Northeast U.S. Their parent company, Netherlands' Royal Ahold, also owns Peapod. Peapod is similarly limited in its distribution to the Northeast and a few other metro areas.
Founded in 1989 as a smart shopping option for busy people, Peapod today stands as the country's leading Internet grocer, serving the metro areas of Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Milwaukee, New Haven, Providence and Washington, D.C., Suburban New York City and communities in the states of Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Timothy W. Martin wrote about Healthy Ideas' introduction in the Wall St. Journal
The "Healthy Ideas" system will distinguish more than 3,000 of the stores' products and fresh produce with a bright green-and-blue symbol signifying they meet U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal guidelines defining what makes a food healthy. That represents about 10% of the store's total inventory and includes items ranging from dairy products to pancake mix to frozen Brussels sprouts....

Healthy Ideas is one of several new food-labeling programs that attempt to simplify the identification of nutritious foods. The more-detailed nutritional labels required by the Food and Drug Administration have confused some consumers who might not be able to parse the differences between the benefits and drawbacks of reduced fat versus reduced sodium. And not everyone agrees on what makes a food healthy, leading to criticism of the programs over which items get included....

The new programs try to distinguish which products in a given category -- cookies, for instance -- are healthier than others in that category. "Not all cookies are created equal," says David L. Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.

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