Metro Ontario launches My Healthy Plate with Metro

A comprehensive healthy eating program designed specifically for its customers

TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Because a healthy diet and wellness are at the heart of its customers' priorities, today Metro launches its My Healthy Plate with Metro healthy eating program. This program, which launched in all Metro stores in Ontario, will contribute to simplifying the life of customers who want to make healthier food choices.

The My Healthy Plate with Metro program rests on four pillars: improving its product offering by encouraging healthy eating and providing customers with even more choices; helping customers choose healthier food products; making it easier to access affordable and healthy products; promoting healthy eating within the community.

For Metro, eating well is all about three key elements:

  1. Cooking fresh and unprocessed ingredients while including as many fruits and vegetables as possible on your plate
  2. Making better choices when selecting products in the grocery aisles
  3. Enjoying healthy eating, without compromising taste, with its tips and recipes

Fresh and unprocessed products, such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, are all considered to be good choices. Knowing that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and that it's not always easy to eat more of them, Metro has developed a lighthearted and fun way to discover or rediscover products according to the seasons. Tips and helpful hints will be featured in the flyer every week, where they will occupy more space, in an effort to entice customers to cook them in a healthy way.

48% of Metro's customers currently reference the nutrition facts table when selecting products, the company launched a "smile" system which identifies "good" and "great" choices among various grocery categories. This initiative enables customers to easily find products that are recommended by Registered Dietitians for their nutritious content. The products are identified by a smile on the price tags - a simple and effective way to ensure there's no confusion when selecting healthy options. Along with in-store signage, customers will have access to tips and helpful hints including those developed by Cara Rosenbloom, Metro Registered Dietitian, on Tips will also eventually be featured in-store to help shoppers enjoy healthy eating.

The "smile" program is being launched in four product groups: breakfast, dairy products, beverages and frozen products. Together, they represent 35 categories and over 5,000 evaluated products. The "smile" program will be rolled out in every grocery aisle by the spring of 2014.

"This type of global approach allows customers to make healthier food choices and helps them make quick decisions when faced with the mass of information being offered with respect to healthy eating. In short, we want to simplify their life and improve their shopping experience" explains Marc Giroux, Vice-President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Metro Inc. "We will also leverage our new digital ecosystem to highlight the good and the great choices for customers when planning their shopping trip."

A comprehensive approach based on nutritional criteria specific to food category

Metro is using experts to assist it with its approach: a team of nutritionists have developed criteria for selecting products, the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE) with whom Metro is partnering, a Scientific Advisory Committee that will monitor the implementation of the program and a chef who will assist customers by offering daily recipes that incorporate healthy foods. The MCCHE is a world leader in promoting the development of an innovative and integrated approach to studying world health problems linked to nutrition. It is chaired by Laurette Dubé, PhD, who also chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of Canadian experts in the fields of nutrition and health and will support Metro in developing and implementing its program.

The approach based on "good" and "great" choices differentiates from other programs in Canada because it is based on nutritional criteria that is specific to each category. The specificity by category is important because each item has its own benefits. "We set guidelines for the minimum and maximum amount of nutrients - such as sugar, fibre, salt and fat - for each food category," explained Cara Rosenbloom, Metro's Registered Dietitian and member of the Advisory Committee. "We also looked carefully at ingredients so we'd get the full story on each food. For example, a product may have only three grams of fat, but if some of the fat is coming from an ingredient like hydrogenated oil, it would not qualify as a "good" or "great" choice." Consumers can view the methodology used in product selection and the complete nutritional criteria for each food category at

The progress and the impact of the program will be measured and monitored by the Metro teams and by the Scientific Advisory Committee.

My Healthy Plate with Metro is part of Metro's Corporate Responsibility approach which began in 2010, under the Delighted Customers and Strengthened Communities pillars. The new initiatives related to the My Healthy Plate with Metro program will be added to those already underway, including the Metro Green Apple School Program and the development of the Irresistibles Life Smart product line.

With annual sales of over $11 billion, METRO INC. (TSX: MRU), founded in 1947, is the only major Canadian food distribution company to have its head office in Quebec. Along with its affiliates and franchisees, METRO INC. employs in Quebec and Ontario over 65,000 people, whose mission is to satisfy their customers every day and earn their-long term loyalty. METRO INC. operates a network of almost 600 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as over 250 drugstores under the Brunet, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.

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SOURCE: Metro Ontario Inc.

For further information:

Amanda DiPasquale
GCI Group
(416) 486-5902

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Metro Ontario Inc.

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