PLEASANTON, Calif. – Safeway Inc. has launched its new SimpleNutrition program, an in-store shelf-tag system designed to make it easier for shoppers to find better nutrition. The green shelf tags on qualifying items are located throughout the store. When asked if this program includes red meat and poultry products, a company spokesman told, “No, not at this time, but it will at a later date.”

The company said it created SimpleNutrition as a first step in helping its customers modify the selection of products that support a healthier lifestyle. SimpleNutrition makes it easy to find nutritionally better items in-store with green shelf tags that highlight up to two of 22 different nutrition and ingredient benefits, such as: gluten free, organic, sodium smart or made with whole grains. The tags are simple to read without a complicated numbering system or confusing symbols.

Products included in the program meet specific criteria, so shoppers can focus on the nutrition benefits they want or need most in their diet to meet their nutrition goals.

“Consumers are inundated with conflicting nutrition information and are often skeptical of the nutrition claims on packaging,” said Barbara Walker, group vice president, consumer communications and brand marketing. “SimpleNutrition is an ‘at the shelf’ program that simplifies and personalizes the grocery shopping experience so that shoppers can feel confident about making more informed food choices. While SimpleNutrition is not a replacement for the nutrition panel found on food and beverage packages, it provides shoppers with a quick snapshot of the nutrition and ingredient benefits that best match their nutritional needs.”

Based on a recent nationwide survey commissioned by Safeway of more than 1,500 moms, 36% of the respondents said they are cautious about the claims made on packaging. As many as 41% of moms said not having time to read all nutrition labels in-store is a challenge they face when trying to make informed nutrition choices

At home, Safeway shoppers can turn to as a resource for food, nutrition and health information, as well as answers to common nutrition questions, tips for making healthier and affordable food choices and tasty recipes.

Products in the program are nutritionally better and get tagged with a message such as ‘Low in Fat’ or ‘Good Source of Fiber’. Each must provide key beneficial nutrients. Also included are benefit tags for shoppers interested in gluten free, organic, natural or calorie smart choices. The criteria for SimpleNutrition were designed in partnership with registered dietitians and food labeling experts, and are based on health agency guidelines.

Safeway will continue to update the qualifying items based on changes in product nutrition and ingredient information, and new products in the store. The company is also committed to expanding the SimpleNutrition program throughout 2011 by launching a personalized online nutrition tool to help shoppers find healthier alternatives to the foods they currently purchase.