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Metro launches healthy eating program

Dietitians helped develop criteria for products selected under "My healthy plate with Metro" program

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Customers at Metro and Metro Plus stores in Quebec and Ontario will be guided by smiley faces on shelf labels that point the way to healthier eating.

The grocer has launched its “À votre santé avec Metro”/“My healthy plate with Metro” healthy eating program in the two provinces to identify foods that are considered as good or great choices.

The program aims to use science and not marketing to provide consumers with more healthy and affordable eating choices, according to Marc Giroux, vice-president, chief marketing and communications officer at Metro.

Although 52% of consumers want to improve their eating, many are under “food stress” and need ways to have their food chances simplified and to lessen confusion, he said.

A team of dietitians has developed criteria for selecting products under the program.

Metro is also partnering with McGill University’s Centre for Convergence of Health and Eating, which studies world health problems linked to nutrition. A scientific advisory committee comprised of experts in food, nutrition, medicine and consumer behaviour has also been formed.

A chef is providing some 800 healthy and tasty recipes that tout fresh and relatively unprocessed ingredients. The recipes will be available online in the coming months.

Out of a total of 5,000 evaluated products in 35 categories, 1,100 were identified as good choices and 500 (or 10%) as great choices. Good and great choices are higher in fibre, proteins, vitamins and minerals and whole grains, lower in fat, saturated fats, sodium and sugar and are without hydrogenated oil, shortening, sugar substitutes and artificial trans fats.

Good choices will be labelled with a small smile and great choices get a big smile. The labelling will be completed by next spring in stores and will also be available on Metro’s new mobile grocery list app.

Details of the program are being unveiled in this week’s circular. The circular will highlight healthy products every week.

Metro is also launching a number of new Life Smart products in its Irresistibles line, from Strawberry Banana Smoothie to Honey Almond Granola. The Irresistibles Greek Yogourt Coated Chewy Bars, for example, is touted as being a very high source of fibre and low in sodium.

Fresh and unprocessed products, such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, are all considered good under the program.

The produce department is getting special attention and is being showcased with the campaign “Our fruits and veggies bring out a smile”.

Giroux would not divulge the cost of the program.

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