Grocery Stores Displaying Nutritional Ratings to Increase Integrity

A new trend of rating food’s nutritional value is sweeping through supermarkets nationwide.  Many grocery store chains are hiring companies like NuVal and Guiding Stars to rate the foods offered in their stores to help better inform consumers. The nutritional ratings are displayed beside the price on supermarket shelves.

According to officials at NuVal and Guiding Stars, the companies have been contracted to rate foods in almost 3,000 supermarket locations nationwide. Guiding Stars ranks foods on a three-star system with more stars meaning a healthier product, while NuVal uses a 100-point system with a higher score being better. Chains such as Lowes Foods and Kroger-owned King Soopers are employing the rating systems ahead of possible federal regulations that may make nutritional ratings mandatory.

In October, the Institute of Medicine released two reports, which suggested that the federal government should develop a nutritional rating system and require the ratings to be displayed in stores. USA Today cited Siobhan DeLancey, a spokeswoman with the Food and Drug Administration, said that the agency is “reviewing the institute’s reports and evaluating the recommendations to determine its next steps.”

Not everyone sees value in such a system. USA Today quoted Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University and blogger on Foodpolitics.com, who said, “I think their purpose is to sell food products. If you want to encourage people to eat healthy, you want to encourage them not to eat food products. You want them to eat real food.”

Here’s how these grocery stocks are reacting to the news today:

Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY): SWY shares recently traded at $21.09, down $0.31, or 1.45%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $15.93 to $25.43. Volume today was 338,118 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,187,900 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 14.25, while trailing earnings are $1.48 per share.

The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR): KR shares recently traded at $24.07, down $0.25, or 1.03%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $21.14 to $25.85. Volume today was 234,496 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,677,680 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.42, while trailing earnings are $1.94 per share.

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM): WFM shares recently traded at $72.50, down $0.04, or 0.06%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $49.68 to $74.45. Volume today was 34,489 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 1,628,350 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 37.56, while trailing earnings are $1.93 per share.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT): WMT shares recently traded at $59.16, up $0.12, or 0.2%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $48.31 to $61.06. Volume today was 213,891 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 10,433,400 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.52, while trailing earnings are $4.72 per share.

Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT): TGT shares recently traded at $48.82, up $0.03, or 0.06%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $45.28 to $56.44. Volume today was 132,772 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,147,390 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 11.36, while trailing earnings are $4.30 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ashley Cloninger at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com