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Health Scoring: How Nutrition Ratings Simplify Healthy Shopping

Health Scoring: How Nutrition Ratings Simplify Healthy Shopping

/ 4 min read

A Brief Look

  • Consumers want to be healthy, and they are looking for systems that can help them make educated decisions while they shop.
  • Time-strapped consumers are often too busy to pour over complex nutritional information and make confident decisions. Nutrition ratings simplify healthy shopping by giving customers quick, on-the-go guidance around selecting healthier products.
  • By introducing a nutrition rating system, retailers open up opportunities for stronger loyalty programs, increased basket sizes, enhanced consumer interest, and other customer-supporting benefits from using Pinto’s nuanced product data sets.

Dive Deeper

Making healthy choices in the grocery aisles is a growing desire among American consumers. People want the option to identify and select more beneficial products quickly and understand how they relate to their personal health goals. In fact, when Americans consider their purchasing habits over the past decade, many say healthfulness impacts food purchases. According to the International Food Information Council, 66% of shoppers buy food based on personal health needs, 76% are trying to eat less added sugars, and 80% would like to change their diet in some way to be healthier.

Despite this growing shift, many consumers lack the complete “nutritional” picture and knowledge needed to make these healthy decisions, which can make tackling lifestyle changes a challenge. Customers are looking for the support of retailers, alongside accurate information and tools, to help them make educated decisions.

Pinto developed a nutrition rating system to address this very issue. Nutrition ratings simplify healthy shopping by giving customers the clear information they need to modify their habits and improve their knowledge of which foods are healthy foods and why. Each product is given a score based on the product’s healthy attributes and nutritional value, accompanied by a visual indicator that shows them if the product is a good choice for their dietary goals.

By implementing a clear nutrition rating system, retailers can cultivate larger basket sizes and build loyalty with their health-conscious consumers. As attitudes around the country shift towards healthy living, the demand for this data-driven system is growing.

How Nutrition Ratings Work

Nutrition ratings calculate the healthfulness of each product and visually represent this with ‘product scores’ and ‘basket scores’ to make it easier for shoppers to make informed product selections. Products can be evaluated by taste, price, nutritional value, ingredients, and dietary preferences. The system uses familiar traffic light indicators—red, green, and yellow icons—as visual symbols for nutritional ratings.

Traffic lights for nutrition ratings:


🔴  Red = avoid too much

🟡  Yellow = have in moderation

🟢  Green = good

Pinto uses an algorithmic score to evaluate each product’s healthfulness, based on compositional information such as nutrition and ingredients. This score is applied consistently and objectively across all products so that the shopper can understand the nutritional value of each product—quickly and on the spot.

These ratings offer an easy, visual, and clear way to translate complex product data into information customers can access and digest. The traffic light indicator, combined with a corresponding score number, helps shoppers understand the nutritional value of each of their products while also allowing them to find healthier alternatives when needed.

Customers can also shop for taste and price within the nutrition rating system. Taste and price have become more impactful for 4 in 10 Americans. Likewise, taste preferences can often be a barrier to a healthy lifestyle. Retailers who offer these insights can support more health-conscious behaviors and create strong relationships with their customer base who are looking to shift their eating habits.

Why Retailers Need a Nutrition Rating System

As the number of Americans with varying health conditions increases, customers will continue to drive their behaviors towards healthy eating. It’s important for retailers to take a leadership role in this change and be active participants in consumer health.

These days, customers want to know that their store has their best interest in mind and is invested in their health. Making product information accessible and easy to navigate is one way retailers can provide this guidance while simultaneously creating opportunities to increase brand loyalty.

With a nutrition rating system, grocers can recommend products that better fit their consumers’ health goals. For example, the system might suggest a vegetable snack or seaweed crisps instead of potato chips. Or, 100% whole wheat bread over white bread. This is a huge value proposition for any incoming customers who have diet concerns or want to make healthy lifestyle changes but don’t know where to start. It also allows retailers to direct purchasing towards specific products.

Customers are willing to pay more for healthful products, so empowering their health goals is also a simple way to increase sales. A recent study in Turkey found that customers who participated in a nutrition rating system generated a year-over-year sales growth of 23% compared to non-participants. After a year, the users’ balanced nutrition index went up from 70.5 to 77.3 on average.

Nutrition ratings can also strengthen existing loyalty programs, where customers who have continuously been eating healthily can be rewarded via discounts or coupons to encourage more directed spending. Likewise, customers who opt-in can be targeted with healthy deals to encourage future shopping.

What’s more, ratings support in-store dietitians by simplifying large, complex product inventories into easy-to-understand and scalable nutritional insights. This strengthens their ability to guide customers towards their goals while also offering new and relevant products on a larger scale.

Overall, nutrition ratings make retailers effective partners in consumer health. By educating their customers, retailers can influence informed buying and increase retention through loyalty programs.

Driven by Consumer Needs

Consumers want to be healthier, and they are looking for guidance that can help them meet their goals. Nutrition rating systems give them the agency to make better choices while giving retailers unique opportunities to increase sales.

Nutrition rating programs can help customers discover new products, find alternatives to a specific product, and identify inexpensive yet healthy options that fit their budget. Similarly, passing this empowerment onto customers paints retail brands as caring and informed, building brand integrity on a larger scale.

Likewise, nutrition ratings offer a simple way to educate customers on the items they choose with opportunities to pivot their spending towards new brands or products. By providing accurate, detailed, and visually oriented data, retailers become active partners in the shopping experience, rather than passive ones.

Retailers who adopt nutrition ratings open up possibilities for stronger loyalty programs, increased basket sizes, enhanced consumer interest, and other customer-supporting benefits from using Pinto’s nuanced product data sets. They also have a platform to boost product sales through informative, honest practices that keep consumer needs in mind.