SINS Sneek Peek: Safeway’s Simple Nutrition

This week in the United States, Safeway launched a shelf education program to help shoppers choose healthier food options.

The program consists of 22 different shelf tags that are placed on-shelf adjacent to the price tags for a particular product. Products that meet a certain minimum criteria are evaluated further to determine if they qualify for a Simple Nutrition shelf tag.

Each product can qualify for up to two shelf tag qualifiers.

This is a great initiative to help battle poor eating habits. Providing a consistent and clear message on the shelf allows shoppers to quickly find better food options in a sea of packaging and a third party evaluation levels the playing field among competitors.

The program has not been rolled out in Canada as of yet but we expect that these types of programs will cascade north from Safeway’s US divisions.

For the Canadian industry it poses a few questions:

  1. Given the differences in nutritional guidelines on either side of the border this program will have to run on separate criteria North and South of the border. This is the perfect example of regulatory inefficiencies that may be addresses under proposed changes announced recently.
  2. How much will participation in the program cost? Is this truly a shopper focussed program by Safeway or is this an opportunity to increase trade funding in disguise?
  3. How do your products stack up today. Would the claims your packages make pass the minimum evaluation criteria set out by Safeway?
  4. Lastly, should there be a Nationally agreed to program with a common look and feel, common criteria and common marketing effort made by the Canadian retail trade? With the recent demise of the CCGD this level of cooperation between retailers may be more difficult today.

To see more details about the Simple Nutrition program download our SINS Sneek Peek report here.


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