by Marion Nestle
Jan 3 2009

Oh no! Yet another food rating scheme

Thanks to blogger Hemi Weingarten for telling me about the new scheme from Stop and Shop to help you pick out the thousands of foods it identifies as better for you.   As you know from my previous postings on these schemes (filed under Scoring Systems), I don’t have much love for food rating systems.  They depend entirely on who devises them.  It is very much in the interest of Stop and Shop, PepsiCo, Kraft, Unilever, and all the other companies that are doing this to devise criteria that allow lots of their products to qualify.  Recall the Hannaford example: when the supermarket chain recruited independent nutrition experts to devise criteria, less than one-fourth of the products in the stores qualified even for a one-star rating and most of those were fruits and vegetables in the produce section.  The moral: eat minimally processed foods and you don’t have to worry about such things.

  • or you could go with the simple Marion Nestle (rating) system–

    if it has more than 5 ingredients, avoid it.
    –this works for most things except perhaps frozen mixed vegetables, which can have many whole foods listed without any preservatives or other pesky chemicals

    Avoiding edible-food-like-substances, is an idea from Michael Pollan. If your grandmother could not identify the item as food, skip it. Most of these probably have more than five ingredients anyway!

  • emil

    Hi dear Marion.I just recently read yours What to eat book.I’m european chef that leawe in Canada,and when I firs come here 4 years ago I experienced real shock-bread that I could squeeze to the size of golf ball ham that have no flavour and is full of water,nice red shiny apples that test like grass (which probably test beter)and many many other things.Your book gave me really good idea whou is responsible for all that food that looks nice and that’s where its role ends.I don’t thing that we need food that we can use as christmas ornaments,let it be ugly and full of nutriens.Your BIG BIG fan and supporter.Emil