If you shop at certain Minnesota or Wisconsin grocers, you may notice a new system in place at your store. The system, called NuVal, helps shoppers make better food choices.
How NuVal Works
Nu-Val is a scoring system that shows consumers the nutritional value of foods they buy. The system scores products based on nutritional factors that might be present in a product – everything from fiber and vitamins to sugar and sodium. Products are given a score between 1 and 100 that is displayed on the product’s shelf tag, next to the price. The higher the NuVal score, the more nutritious the product.
Shoppers are encouraged to “trade up” to get the highest nutritional value within each food category. For example, the average NuVal score for crackers is 19. But you’ll see that some crackers that are better than others. Triscuits Hint of Salt, for example, has a NuVal score of 38 and Old London Melba Unsalted Grain toast has a score of 91.
Is NuVal Right for You?
Advocates of NuVal say that the system is less complicated than reading the Nutrition Facts label. That might be true, says Karen Palmer, RD, LD, CDE, a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at North Memorial Medical Center. She supports the system for her clients that shop at NuVal stores. Palmer says that it’s a good tool for people to guide them in improving their choices within food categories.
But she has not yet recommended NuVal yet for her clients with diabetes. She says that her patients with that condition really need to be looking at the total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts label due to its effect on blood glucose. She works with those clients to “become very comfortable and knowledgeable in looking at the carbohydrate content.”
Where to find NuVal
In Minnesota, you’ll find the NuVal system at Lunds and Byerly’s stores, Coborn’s grocers around the state, or at Hy-Vee, in Faribault. In Wisconsin you’ll find NuVal at Festival Foods. You can also request to get NuVal at your local store by talking to the store manager or by visiting the NuVal website.