Dizziness in the supermarket jungle ~ Brand Mix

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dizziness in the supermarket jungle

Great. Just what we need. Multiple new systems to tell us what's healthy and what's not.

A New York Times story today reports that new and different systems for evaluating healthy foods are being launched with grocery chains opting for their favorite. "Within months, shoppers across the country may find numerical ratings, star ratings or letter grades plastered on the shelf next to virtually every product in a store", the story reports. Ugh.

No doubt things could be better. No doubt that the current dull, government-mandated nutritional labeling combined with the manufacturers' obfuscating claims make it hard for consumers to pick out the healthy choice. But throwing another layer of helpful information on top of what's already there is the answer? Especially when it's not a standardized system with more than a little subjectivity about the ratings.

What are consumers going to make of the story's example of a product at a Hannaford store that is given no stars but which has an American Heart Association logo on it? That's not helpful.

Best case now is that these various initiatives will spur the government and/or the food manufacturers to finally come up with some uniform code. Worst case, confusion reigns supreme.

1 comment:

Martin Bishop said...

Supermarkets are a pain, they rule the world, they are getting bigger and bigger,with more buying power. They are not content with selling food, they now have to
sell everything. This means any small shopkeepers struggle to survive. What did Thatcher say 'We are a nation of small shopkeepers' not any more.

Cut and paste (with permission) from an email sent by Mrs Bishop

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