Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Raley's supermarkets "phasing out" NuVal nutrition scoring system developed by influential scientists at Harvard, Yale, etc. [UPDATED]

Store locator map via Raleys.com

Last month the Yale Daily News reported that Big Y, a New England supermarket chain, had dropped the NuVal nutrition scoring system.

According to the story, a Big Y executive said the NuVal system --  which was developed by high-profile, influential scientists like Drs. Walter Willett of Harvard and David L. Katz of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center -- was "out of date."
Last week I published a crowdsourcing appeal asking readers if their local supermarkets were using NuVal.

As a result of a tip from a reader, yesterday the media representative of Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, which owns and operates 134 supermarkets in California and Nevada, wrote me that the company is "phasing out" NuVal by the end of this year.

Here are the details.

Shortly after I blogged my crowdsource  request -- my first, by the way -- I received this tweet from valued Sidebar reader Chris Wirth:

As I suspected by his nom de tweet, Chis subsequently confirmed that, like me, he's a fan of P.G. Wodehouse.

Chris also sent me this photo he took last week of a shelf at a Raley's store in Pleasonton, California -- as you see, there are no NuVal rating labels...

 ...which look something like this:


Via a September 14, 2011 press release issued by Raley's and NuVal LLC of Quincy, Massachusetts:
Raley’s Family of Fine Stores has introduced the NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System in its 124 Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods stores. Raley’s is a family-owned and operated grocery chain with store locations throughout Northern California and Nevada.

...This robust food rating system was developed by a team of recognized nutrition and medial experts, led by Dr. David Katz of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. The NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System is objective and had no retailer or manufacturer involvement in its development.
David L. Katz MD (source)

Via NuVal's website, here's the "team of recognized nutrition and medial experts":

Chair: Dr. David Katz, Yale University School of Medicine
Dr. Keith Ayoob, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Dr. Leonard Epstein, University of Buffalo; inventor, Traffic Light Diet
Dr. David Jenkins, University of Toronto; inventor, Glycemic Index
Dr. Francine Kaufman, USC; Former President, American Diabetes Association
Dr. Robert Kushner, Northwestern University
Dr. Ronald Prior, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, USDA HNRC
Dr. Rebecca Reeves, Past President, American Dietetic Association
Dr. Barbara Rolls, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Sachiko St. Jeor, University of Nevada
Dr. John Seffrin, President & CEO, American Cancer Society
Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard University


In an e-mail yesterday to Chelsea Minor, Raley's Director of PR and Public Affairs, I shared the information I received from Chris and asked her if Raley's was still using NuVal.

Here's her prompt reply:
Raley’s is phasing out the NuVal system at this time. Our stores are on different schedules, but expect the transition to be completed by end of year.
I e-mailed Ms. Minor a follow-up asking why Raley's chose to phase out NuVal and will update this item after I hear from her.

UPDATED, 2:55pm EST: I just got this response from Ms. Minor:
The conversation around nutrition and education has continued to evolve over the past five years and since Raley’s implemented NuVal. Our customers are asking for more information about product nutrition and overall health and wellness, and we are listening and responding. Recently we added a corporate dietitian and regularly feature educational information about nutrition and wellness on our website. Additionally, we share information through our Raley's Something Extra publication and via in store materials. We are also in the process of creating a new system that is personalized and easy to understand.