by Kevin Coupe

I think it is worth noting this morning that Guiding Stars, the nutritional guidance program that currently is in more than 1,500 US and Canadian supermarkets, rating good, best and better-for-you foods with one, two and three stars, based on a publicly available algorithm, is celebrating its 10th birthday.

I can remember well when Guiding Stars first was launched; it was a concept that I liked a lot, and wrote about a lot here on MNB. It wasn't the only one out there, and there are people and companies with preferences for one or another.

The thing that I always liked about Guiding Stars was the fact that it was easy to understand; I can remember hearing from parents who would send their kids into the cereal or cookie aisle, instructing them to pick out anything they wanted ... as long as it had stars. I thought about Guiding Stars again this week when I was sent a study from the University of Phoenix that concluded that emojis are an effective way to communicate to children about what they should or should not eat. In the end, what is a star if not a kind of emoji ... though in this case, one created long before the concept of emojis were popularized.

It also is worth noting that Guiding Stars was pretty early to the party when it comes to doing something we write a lot about here on MNB ... the importance for stores to be more than just a source of products, and to become a resource for information. And let's not forget the fact that Guiding Stars made its algorithm public, being completely transparent to retailers, suppliers and consumers ... another way in which it was ahead of a wave that has gathered force as technology has fostered a new kind of information age.

I know this all sort of sounds like a commercial for Guiding Stars, and that's not my intention ... I understand that there are plenty of ways to slice this loaf of nutritional information bread, and that's fine. But I also thought it was worth noting how far we've come in the last decade, and the role that this particular company has played in the nutrition-and-transparency continuum.

It's been an Eye-Opener.