Time and nutrition crunched Western-Canadians now have Guiding Stars program to shop healthier at Real Canadian Superstore® locations

Nutrition navigation program will help the approximately half of British Columbians and Albertans who list "time" as the main reason they are unable to prepare healthier meals

CALGARY, Aug. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - (TSX:L) – Real Canadian Superstore® locations in Western Canada now offer a faster, easier way to make nutritious food choices when shopping for groceries, as Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) today launches the Guiding Stars program in British Columbia and Alberta. Guiding Stars is an objective, nutrition navigation program, providing at-a-glance nutritional ratings for foods found throughout the store. 

The Guiding Stars  program is designed to complement existing on-the-package nutritional tables and labels, and National Nutrition Guidelines. The program scores food on a three-star scale based on nutrient density using an objective scientific algorithm grounded in current dietary guidelines and the recommendations of national regulatory and health organizations.

"Guiding Stars is a family-friendly tool that translates dietary requirements in a visual and practical way," says Melanie Byland, registered dietitian and senior manager, Dietitian Program, Loblaw Companies Limited. "With the new school year just around the corner, it's a great time to refresh old routines and start new ones. Incorporating Guiding Stars into your family's grocery shopping routine will provide quick and easy guidance on the nutritional quality of the food choices your family is making."

The Guiding Stars program scores products on a credit and debit system where foods acquire stars for containing more vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, whole grains, and omega-3 fats and are debited for containing saturated fat, trans fat, added sodium, or added sugars. Products can earn up to three stars, with ratings displayed clearly on store shelves. Foods with fewer than five calories per serving e.g.  bottled water, teas, and spices, are not rated. If a food has been rated and does not meet ranking criteria it will display no stars.

Canadian kids want to eat healthier according to their parents, but parents are challenged to make healthier meals
A recent survey conducted by the team at President's Choice® has found that the majority (68%) of Canadian parents feel that their children are more health conscious than they were at the same age. Nearly all parents (91%) who felt that their children are more health conscious feel that their kids are making healthier eating choices.

However, while kids want to make healthy choices, half of parents say they still find it a challenge to regularly prepare healthy meals at home. The number-one reason is not having enough time (47%), and some (15%) report lacking the required knowledge to prepare healthy meals at home. The Guiding Stars program is a fast and informative tool for parents and families.

In addition to the Guiding Stars program, Real Canadian Superstore® locations offer a number of healthier food options through the PC® Blue Menu® brand. The newly-designed packaging of PC® Blue Menu® products makes it easy to quickly identify nutritional benefits with plus (+) and minus (-) symbols identifying the nutritional attributes of each product.

Loblaw banner stores offer support for Canadians in their journeys towards healthier lifestyles with initiatives like the President's Choice® Cooking School classes, and partnerships with the Canadian Diabetes Association and Hypertension Canada.   

For more information about the Guiding Stars program, please visit www.guidingstars.ca.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted between July 18th and July 25th 2014 via Ipsos Omnibus Surveys.  A total of n=1009 Parents (18+ yrs. old) with kids under the age of 18 were interviewed using an online survey.  A sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada's food and pharmacy leader, the nation's largest retailer, and the majority unit holder of Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, banking, and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations, Loblaw, its franchisees, and Associate-owners employ approximately 192,000 full- and part-time employees, making it one of Canada's largest private sector employers.

Loblaw's purpose – Live Life Well – puts first the needs and well-being of Canadians who make one billion transactions annually in the companies' stores. Loblaw is positioned to meet and exceed those needs in many ways: convenient locations; more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty; full-service pharmacies at more than 1,250 Shoppers Drug Mart® and Pharmaprix® locations and more than 500 Loblaw locations; PC Financial® no-fee banking; affordable Joe Fresh® fashion and family apparel; and three of Canada's top consumer brands in Life Brand®, no name® and President's Choice®. Through the PC Plus™ and Shoppers Optimum® loyalty programs, more than one in every three Canadians are rewarded for shopping with the companies.

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited

For further information: Loblaw Public Relations Department, 905-459-2500 / pr@loblaw.ca; Hayley Judge, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 416-413-4730 / hayley.judge@hkstrategies.ca