The NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System helps you cut through confusing nutrition information so you can make decisions about food for your family quickly and easily – and feel good about your choices.
Should you buy whole wheat or oatmeal bread? Are pretzels more nutritious than tortilla chips?
These are the decisions that NuVal® scores can help you make – in seconds – as you’re walking down the store aisles.
Click here to get NuVal® Scores for the foods you eat all the time.
NuVal® Scores in Your Local Super 1 Foods
Nuval®scores can be found on shelf tags throughout the store. At a glance, you’ll be able to see and compare the nutritional value of products as part of your regular shopping routine. Brochures describing how the system works are also available at the store office.
Almost every product in our stores will have a NuVal® score eventually. Scores are continuing to be judged, so if you don’t see NuVal® scores on your favorite products yet, know that they are coming soon.
NuVal® vs. Other Scoring Systems
We realize different nutrition ranking systems are being promoted in other retailer’s stores and believe it is important for you to understand how the NuVal® system differs.
Simple – The NuVal® system provides comprehensive nutritional information in one simple number between 1 and 100. The higher the NuVal® score, the better the nutrition.
Inclusive – NuVal® scores cover all kinds of food – from apples to chips and store brands to national brands; not just products from specific manufacturers.
Convenient – NuVal® scores are right where you shop, on shelf tags throughout the store, so you can compare overall nutrition the same way you compare prices.
Objective – The NuVal® system was developed independently by a team of nutrition and medical experts and funded by Griffin Hospital. No retailers or manufacturers were involved.
Value-focused – NuVal® scores help you get the most nutrition for your money by allowing you to compare price and nutrition side-by-side on the same tag.
How is the NuVal® Score Calculated?
The NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System takes more than 30 different nutrients and nutrition factors into account when developing a score, making it a very robust food rating system. The nutrient content for a food is processed through a complex algorithm developed through a rigorous process by a team of twelve experts. Boiled down to its simplest description, here is how the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System works:
- Nutrients with generally favorable effects on health are placed in the numerator, where higher values increase the NuVal® Score.
- Nutrients with generally unfavorable effects on health are placed in the denominator, where higher values decrease the NuVal® score.
In addition to the numerator and denominator nutrients, the algorithm takes into account other key factors that measure the quality and density of nutrients, as well as the strength of their association with specific health conditions.
For example, trans fat has a very strong association with heart disease, a highly prevalent and serious condition. Therefore, the algorithm assigns a “weighting coefficient” to trans fat which substantially lowers the score of foods containing it. Those weighting coefficients are determined by the prevalence, severity, and strength of association with health conditions.
The quality of macronutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates) is another key factor in the overall equation. Fat quality, protein quality, carbohydrate quality, and glycemic load (a measure of carbohydrate quality) are among the “universal adjustors” that can move a NuVal® score higher or lower. The higher the quality, the higher the score.
Foods with higher nutrient density – a significant amount of vitamins and mineral, but relatively few calories – also receive extra credit and higher scores. The greater a food’s “trajectory” toward numerator nutrients (generally favorable) and away from denominator nutrients (generally unfavorable), the greater the score.
Q: Is the NuVal® System a diet?
A: No, it is a food scoring system that allows you to understand and compare the nutritional value of the foods you buy and consume. It is a tool you can easily use while shopping to make more nutritious food choices. The NuVal® System is not a diet or substitute for a doctor’s advice about health conditions.
Q: Are NuVal® Scores different for adults and children? Men and women?
A: The same NuVal® scores pertain to everyone over the age of two years old. The system is based on the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are published jointly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. Since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans exclude infants and toddlers under the age of two, so does the NuVal® System.
Q: How does the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System benefit customers like me?
A: Our easy-to-use scoring system helps you cut through the clutter of nutrition information so you can make decisions about food quickly, easily, and with confidence. Should you buy the rotisserie chicken or the chicken pie? Is yogurt more nutritious for you than cottage cheese? These are the decisions that the NuVal® System can help you make – in seconds – as you’re walking down the supermarket aisle.
Q: What specific nutrients and factors go into a NuVal® Score?
A: The following nutrients and nutrition factors are used in determining a food’s NuVal® Score.
- Nutrients considered to have generally favorable effects on health:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Total bioflavonoids
- Total carotenoids
- Nutrients with generally unfavorable effects on health:
- Saturated fat
- Trans fat
- Additional entries:
- Protein quality
- Fat quality
- Glycemic load
- Energy density
Q: How did you determine what nutrients to use?
A: Nutrients for inclusion in the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System were selected based on their established relevance to public health as reported and published by the scientific community. For more detailed information on the inclusion of each nutrient, and a bibliography of sources upon which each decision was based, please e-mail experts@NuVal.com.
Q: Where does the nutrient data you use in the scoring process come from?
A: For packaged foods, the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System uses the information on the nutrition facts panel on the food’s packaging, as well as the ingredients list. We manually scan the on-package nutrient fact panel and ingredients list, from which a nutrient content profile is generated and processed through the ONQI™ algorithm (our scoring engine).
For foods without labels (non-packaged) – such as produce, seafood, and meat – the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System uses a nutrient database from a respected research arm of a major university which is used by both government agencies and academia and contains all of the nutrients needed for our computations. Their data is obtained primarily from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory and supplemented by food manufacturers’ information and data from scientific literature.
Q: Could the Score for the same product change over time?
A: Yes. And these changes are likely to happen for two reasons.
The first is scientific advancement. As new research is conducted and the findings verified, it may require updates or revisions to the ONQI™ algorithm that powers the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System. The Scientific Advisory Board, which manages the ONQI algorithm, also will manage the process to update the ONQI algorithm as new public health implications are proven.
The second reason for changing scores is the reformulation of products. As manufactures notify us of changes to their product ingredients lists, NuVal® scores will be revisited and updated accordingly. For example, until recently, many processed food products contained trans fat. The removal of trans fat, as well as other nutrient reformulations, can impact – sometimes greatly – the NuVal® Score of a product.
Q: How often will scores be revisited to account for advancements in nutritional science?
A: As part of its responsibility to manage the ONQI™ algorithm, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will monitor research findings and advancements that may require revisions to the ONQI algorithm (which powers the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System and is owned and managed by Griffin Hospital). The SAB has committed to reviewing the algorithm itself every two years to determine if it should be revised based on scientific advancements or re-approved in its current form.
Want to learn more about NuVal®? Click here to visit the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System website.*
*Please note that the NuVal® website is not managed by Brookshire’s.