Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Curious about the system, our reporter learns more.

For customers at nearly thirty supermarket chains across the nation, there's now an easier way to decipher the nutritional value of their product selections. Known as NuVal, a private scoring system has been developed to help consumers tell if they're really getting the nutrition they think they're buying.

The NuVal scoring system is designed to make understanding food nutrition easier.

The NuVal scoring system is designed to make understanding food nutrition easier.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/17/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Home & Food

Keywords: NuVal, nutrition, food, system, label, stores, healthy, marketing


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Reading labels is a time consuming process and few shoppers bother with it. It's not that they don't want to make healthy food choices, it's that they're busy. Instead of taking the time to read the labels, the make their decisions based on word-of-mouth advice, and marketing it's faster, but often a lot less accurate.

Unfortunately, marketing often borders on the deceptive and suggests you're getting more than you really are. Many foods marketed as "whole wheat" or "organic" are not as nutritious as you'd think. Many organic foods are still treated with chemicals.

Enter the NuVal system. The NuVal system isn't the final word on nutrition, but it does provide a snapshot of how nutritious an item is based on a single score.

Catholic Online had the opportunity to interview Robert Keane from NuVal and to learn a little more about this scoring system, which seems to be catching on across the country.

COL: Robert, what is Nuval and how does it work?

KEANE: The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System is a simple rating system that rates foods on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the NuVal Score, the more nutritious the food. Scores are found on the shelf at more than 1,600 supermarkets across the country. NuVal Scores are calculated by assessing more than 30 different nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, sugar, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. These calculations result in a NuVal Score. You can learn more about how scores are calculated at this page.

COL: Why do you feel we need NuVal?

KEANE: Consumer need NuVal because despite our best efforts, it seems harder than ever to know the nutritional value of the food you buy. We have nutrition fact panels, but when you shop, how do you know if shredded wheat or Cheerios are better for you? What about trying to determine what yogurt or even what kind of potato chips have better nutrition? The NuVal System allows you to compare foods like an expert as easily as you compare prices.

COL: Who is behind NuVal?

KEANE: The algorithm that powers NuVal Scores was created by a panel of more than a dozen of the country's best minds in nutrition science led by Dr. David Katz, Co-founder and Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Connecticut. They took two years of collaboration to determine just how to best score foods. The algorithm itself is based on Federal guidelines for nutrition. NuVal LLC is a joint venture formed in 2008 by Topco Associates, LLC, and Griffin Hospital.

COL:
Who calculates NuVal scores and how is it done? (In a lab, etc?)

KEANE: The data upon which our scores are based are taken directly from the food products' nutrition fact panels and ingredient lists. Once we have this information, scores are calculated using a proprietary algorithm at a facility in Boston.

COL:  Is there any independent verification of your scores to ensure they are fair and accurate?

KEANE: Yes, a team of dietitians review each new score as it is created. We also take it upon ourselves to review products on a regular basis to ensure we update the scores of products that may have been reformulated.

COL:
What are the food manufacturers saying about NuVal?

KEANE:
Our scores cover more than 90,000 different foods products from thousands of manufacturers. In this situation there can be disagreements on what a certain food receives as a score. However, we do our best to work with manufacturers and explain why foods score the way they do. In certain cases, we have had manufacturers change the way they process a food, making it more nutritious and raising the NuVal score!

COL:
There's a lot of misinformation about our food out there. Companies know consumers will buy whatever they can cleverly market. Fads are real, such as gluten-free, whole wheat, and organic. Marketers slap these on the labels regardless of what's really in the product. Does NuVal address this issue?

KEANE:
Absolutely. We have said all along that one of the biggest strengths of NuVal Scores is that they cut through all marketing messages. No matter what it says on the package, simply look at the shelf tag, and you'll see the NuVal Score, right next to the price. Just that one number can sum up the overall nutritional quality of a food and ensure you are choosing the best option for you and your family.

COL: If NuVal is so great, why not petition Congress to make NuVal or a system similar to it part of the labeling laws?

KEANE:
The idea behind NuVal was actually proposed to the Government by Dr. David Katz. The Government decided not to act on it, so Dr. Katz took steps to create the system commercially. You can see it in his own words with this video.

COL:
What if I like NuVal, but can't find it in my store. What can I do to get me NuVal scores? Is there a website or an app?

KEANE: Right now, scores are licensed to supermarkets, so they are the primary place where you can find NuVal Scores. However, we are exploring other options to get scores to consumers. For instance, users of Aetna's ActiveHealth can access now access all our scores online. We're now expanding our reach into the health and wellness field to reach even more customers.

COL:
Robert, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

If you are interested in learning more about NuVal, visit the company website here.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Home & Food

Bacon is good for you? Here are 5 incredible reasons bacon actually helps your body Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bacon is one of the most popular foods ever created; more and more people crave the crunchy, sweet and salty piece of meat. People even express the love they have for it by celebrating a nonofficial, International Bacon Day. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Do 'superfoods' really exist? One study takes a closer look at the magic of blueberries Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

Once again, the case of "superfoods" has been tried to see whether they are really worth the cash and the hope of good health. A show conducted a trial at Newcastle University, after recruiting five ordinary women to test whether eating blueberries regularly does have ... continue reading


Green potatoes? Must be St. Patrick's Day Watch

Image of COLCANNON DELIGHT - Everyone thinks of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, but this unique Irish dish made with potatoes and kale can become the hit of the meal.

By Augusta Scattergood (The Christian Science Monitor)

My younger daughter was born one day shy of St. Patrick's Day. We named her Kate for her Great-Aunt Kitty because we loved the name, not because she was Irish. I didn't understand then that a strong ancestral link could be forged with a country across the sea. My ... continue reading


'What's for dinner?' 15 of the strangest things people actually eat Watch

Image of weirdworldfacts.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People often disagree on eating certain things. From exotic animal body parts and things not considered food in general to some items' wild preparations, various delicacies are available for those seeking palate adventures. Some are even rated deliciously. [media ... continue reading


Experts say skipping meals and fasting could be healthier than eating three full meals a day Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eating three square meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner - is not necessarily helping our health, according to various studies by experts. In a recent report by the Mother Jones website, it is said that there are no actual evidence that support the practice of ... continue reading


First protien-counting Smart Jar promises to push your kitchen to the next level Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're having a difficult time measuring nutrition, the solution will soon be available. Neo Smart Jar by SKE Labs is officially the first high-tech jar innovation that can be connected to the Internet and can be synced to personal devices. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Stop making excuses! 8 easy tips on how to eat healthier Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When it comes to food, it's easy to get into the same bad habits. Sometimes it's easier to go for the fast food rather than making your own meal. Sometimes it's just cheaper to get the fattier foods. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's also so easy to switch up ... continue reading


Non-browning GMO 'Arctic apple' to be deregulated in United States Watch

Image of Arctic apples will be first promoted under two versions: the Arctic Granny and the Arctic Golden. Different versions will be offered in the near future.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Man has meddled with Mother Nature - sand has since come up with an apple that neither oxidizes nor turns brown. Developers of the "arctic apple" have discovered how to inhibit the browning enzyme. While this would improve the shelf life of certain fruits, it ... continue reading


4 heavenly Valentine's Day recipes for two Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's Valentine's Day and you forgot to make the important reservation at the hottest restaurant in town. You're panicking; what are you going to do? No one wants to see that disappointed look on their loved one's face. Breathe... We have here for you, four amazing and ... continue reading


You can stop avoiding chocolate now: 5 surprising reasons why chocolate is actually good for you Watch

Image of Dark chocolate is actually really good for your health.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chocolate, everyone loves it. And nearly everyone feels guilty about loving it. It's that "guilty pleasure." You may be receiving loads of chocolate now, because of Valentine's Day. Avoiding it is near impossible, but you don't have to steer clear anymore. It's time to ... continue reading


All Home & Food News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 1st, 2015 Image

St. Hugh of Grenoble
April 1: Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter