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Raley’s focuses on eating healthy

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WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Raley’s has taken its next step along the path of helping shoppers make better eating choices by altering the layout of its cold cereal aisle.

Cereals that deliver 25% or more of their calories from added sugars are being congregated on the bottom shelf, while cereals made with less added sugar get more prominent placement.

“We know that the changes in Raley’s stores can positively influence our customers’ choices,” said Keith Knopf, president and chief executive officer of Raley’s, a privately held, family-owned operator of 129 supermarkets under the Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source banners.

“Our team has thoughtfully developed a system to evaluate added sugar in cold cereals. We believe between education and product placement we can help more customers identify and avoid added sugar,” Knopf said.

The change in the cereal aisle reinforces a move Raley’s made last year to introduce a shelf-tagging system similarly conceived as a way to help in-store shoppers know at a glance how the food they buy helps or hinders their goal of eating healthier.

Raley’s Shelf Guide was developed in partnership with Chicago-based Label Insight Inc. The project combines analytics and food science to establish strict standards for packaged food claims and provide label ­transparency. The partners developed a screening system that assigns attributes to center-store items. Bright icons placed directly on price tags convey these attributes to shoppers, telling them, for instance, whether an item is gluten free, non-GMO or free from added sugars.

In reimagining the cereal aisle, Raley’s and Label Insight developed a sugar filter equation to guide the product placement on shelf. Using the Nutrition Facts Label and a standardized one-cup serving size, Raley’s considered the total calories and total added sugars. This equation identified which cold cereals are “Higher in Added Sugar,” labeled with blue shelf tags, and which are “Lower in Added Sugar,” labeled with gold shelf tags.

Raley’s said it is currently analyzing calories coming from added sugar in all processed food, and it has plans to expand to additional categories.

Over the past few years, Knopf said, Raley’s traded out about 10,000 products and replaced them with products that are held to a higher nutritional standard.

In September, the grocer revamped its checkout stand to cut back on sugary snacks and replace them with more wholesome options. The new selection balances nutritional offerings and indulgence, ranging from protein-powered items and lower-calorie sweets to snacks that are low in preservatives.

In 2015, Raley’s eliminated the sale of tobacco in all of its grocery stores.


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