A Smart Way To Shop For Nutritional Value

Introducng NuVal Tags at Giant Eagle

For many of us, grocery shopping consists of dozens, if not hundreds, of choices — most based on price, brand name or quality. But where does nutritional value fit in? Nutrition labeling isn’t always easy to figure out.

Giant Eagle has removed some of the guesswork. Our tagging system — developed by independent teams of scientists, medical experts and nutritionists in accordance with FDA Dietary Guidelines — makes it easier for you to make better, more informed food choices while you shop!

You’ll find these tags on thousands of national and Giant Eagle brand products throughout the store. They’re easily identifiable by the double hexagon (or honeycomb) NuVal® symbol in the top right corner of the tag, and/or the color-coded blocks beneath containing specific dietary information.

A food’s NuVal® Score ranks its overall nutritional value on a scale from 1 to 100 — the higher the Score, the better the nutrition.

The formula by which this value is determined was developed by an independent team of medical and nutrition experts led by Dr. David Katz, a nationally recognized authority on nutrition, weight control and disease prevention. Nutrients favorable to health are weighed against those generally considered unfavorable, the good divided by the bad. The resulting Score gives an idea of any food’s nutritional value at a quick glance.

What NuVal® makes instantly clear is that not all raisin brans or tomato soups or whole wheat sandwich breads are created equal. Now you can cut through the clutter of food labels and nutritional claims by simply comparing NuVal® Scores and choosing the item that ranks the highest. It’s called trading up, and it can make a huge difference in your diet!

With just a few changes to your shopping and cooking routines, you can make the dietary choices that are right for your family, and increase the nutritional value of your everyday meals.

Look. You’ll find the double-hex NuVal® symbol in the upper right corner on shelf tags, opposite the price, of thousands of products throughout Giant Eagle. The product’s Score, from 1-100, is prominently featured inside the hex. The multicolored dietary info blocks are located at the bottom of the tag.

Compare. Now, you can comparison shop for nutrition just as quickly and easily as for price. With just a glance, you can see which brand of peanut butter has a higher NuVal® Score, which is lower in sodium and which is low in saturated fats, and choose accordingly.

Trade up. Get the most nutritional bang for your buck by focusing on those categories — like fresh fruits and vegetable, and whole grains — that score highest on the NuVal® curve. Use the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines as the standard for portioning your meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some foods have tags and others don’t?

You may notice some items do not have one or either of the new icons on their tags. In most cases, this is because the items have yet to be evaluated. In other cases, it is because the food does not meet a set of nutritional thresholds. In order to receive any color-coded tag (excluding gluten free or organic), the food must not exceed: total fat 13 grams, cholesterol 60mg, saturated fat 4g, sodium 480mg. The product must be in a food category where the average NuVal® Score is greater than 10 and have a score above the average NuVal® Score for that category. This is the case for grocery items without color-coded tags.

Why do some low- or no-fat versions of foods receive a lower NuVal® Score than the whole fat versions?

Not all fats are bad. In fact, unsaturated fats, found in olive, peanut and vegetable oils, nuts and deep sea fish, contain nutrients essential for decreasing the build-up of bad (or LDL) cholesterol in your arteries. Sometimes the processing of low- and no-fat products removes all fats, good and bad, resulting in a product whose overall nutritional value has been compromised. At other times manufacturers have added unfavorable ingredients like salt and sugar to compensate for the removal of fat.

Can the way I prepare a food at home alter its NuVal® Score?

With a few exceptions (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn), all foods are scored in their raw or as-packaged state. While there is no carved- in-stone computation that accounts for cooking method, it does undoubtedly have an effect on a food’s nutritional value. As a general rule, adding fat or sodium or removing peel or pulp that contain fiber will decrease a food’s nutritional value. Trimming fat on steaks or chops or removing poultry skin can improve their value.

Why should I trust this information?

The NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System was developed by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts from leading universities and health organizations and was funded by Griffin Hospital, a nonprofit community hospital and teaching affiliate of the Yale University School of Medicine. The color-coded dietary information blocks were formulated by a team of independent nutritionists in accordance with FDA and USDA guidelines.

What other resources are available to me?

The Registered Dietitians at your neighborhood Giant Eagle are an invaluable resource, not only for answering your questions about our new tags, but for helping you arrive at a sensible eating plan that can improve the quality of your health and life. In addition, familiarizing yourself with the USDA’s MyPlate nutritional guidelines (MyPlate.gov) is essential for understanding portioning and portion control for all age groups. The Web site maintained by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org) features a wealth of information for instilling and enjoying better eating habits.