Data and the Stars

At Guiding Stars, we prioritize transparency, data integrity, and flexible service to support our clients’ data needs. In the U.S., 60-70% of foods offered in most grocery stores are national brands. With hundreds of thousands of products already evaluated through our rigorous processes, new clients aren’t starting from scratch. For the 30-40% of products that are store brand, we work with clients to integrate their product life cycle with our evaluation process to ensure that all products are captured.

Supermarket aisle


We use information that is available to consumers on nutrition labels, ingredient lists, and product packaging to evaluate foods. For single ingredient items, like fresh fruit and vegetables, we utilize the USDA’s National Nutrient Database. We have a comprehensive data process to ensure that we’re evaluating exactly what customers are being sold and can see on the product package.

Data Integrity

Woman reading food label in a grocery store

All data undergoes a thorough review process before going live in our system. Our data collection process is designed to guarantee consistency and accuracy of our nutrition data. Our review process ensures that each food is evaluated with the appropriate algorithm and results of the analysis are reflective of current policy and procedure. Products are activated in the system and available to clients only after the data integrity has been fully verified.

Flexible Data Services

While our nutrition service is the heart of our program, it’s just one way that we use the data captured in our thorough collection and review process to support our clients. Here are a few examples of the many ways nutrient data serves our clients:

Required Allergens

We track the nine major food allergens that are required by the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment and Research (FASTER) Act) to be labeled on packaged foods. Through our integration with client data, we provide the automatic display of these critical product attributes.

Samples of required allergens displayed on an ecommerce platform

Calorie Labeling of Ready-to-Eat Foods

Grocery stores are required to offer calorie labeling on ready-to-eat foods such as soups and sandwiches. We evaluate the recipes or formulas for these prepared foods and provide caloric information for labeling.

Woman choosing fresh food from a counter of super market.

Reporting on Healthy Sales Goals

Many of our clients have goals focused on the sale of nutritious foods or promotion of healthy lifestyles. Guiding Stars is an excellent metric for identifying what qualifies as a nutritious food. We can additionally integrate with rewards programs to make it easy for you to promote healthy choices among regular shoppers or associates.

Close-up of woman scanning goods at checkout counter in supermarket

Analysis of Healthy Displays

We appreciate the work of our clients to improve the nutritional quality of their assortments and strategies around health of certain displays, such as checkout lane snack offerings. We work with clients to analyze the overall nutritional status of these displays to help get a clearer picture of the balance of healthy choices that consumers can make from a display. Using the program’s ratings, we offer better-for-you alternatives.

Data Scores Available

Guiding Stars Rating

We select the algorithm to apply to each food product that qualifies for our program and analyze attributes. We provide you with the 0-3 star rating for each product.

Total Score

Each product and recipe is assigned a total score when adding the positive and negative attributes’ information together. We provide the total points for each product on a scale of +11 to -41.

Attribute Scorecard

This option includes all attributes that affect the raw score of a product. This does not include how many points are assigned to each attribute.

Full Product Scorecard

  • Star rating
  • Raw Score
  • Attribute Scorecard: scores that make up the product raw score, including:  
Whole Grains
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Added Sodium
Added Sugars
Additives to Limit

Read more about all our algorithms »

Product Attributes

We gather and can report on all of the following attributes:

FDA-Required Allergen Labeling

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Sesame

Nutrition Facts Label Core Facts

  • Calories
  • Calories from fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Poly & monounsaturated fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrate
  • Dietary fiber
  • Total sugars
  • Added sugars
  • Sugar alcohol
  • Protein
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

Other Vitamins & Minerals

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Biotin
  • Pantothenate
  • Phosphorus
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Chloride

Other Nutrients

  • Stearic acid
  • Other carbohydrates
  • Caffeine
  • Chlorine
  • Choline
  • Energy blend
  • Ginseng
  • Guarana Extract
  • Iodide
  • Omega 3
  • Omega 6
  • Omega 9
  • Panax ginseng
  • Taurine

Critical Commodities

  • Palm oil
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cocoa
  • Seafood

Additional Allergens

  • Poppy Seeds
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Coconut
  • Mustard
  • Gluten

Manufacturer Claims

  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Casein Free
  • GMO Free
  • Lactose Free
  • Kosher
  • Laxative Effect
  • USDA Organic
  • Vegan
  • Wheat – Free
  • Whole Grain
  • Produced with Genetic Engineering

Ingredients of Interest

  • Artificial colors
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Active yogurt cultures
  • Carmine/cochineal
  • Carrageenan
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • MSG
  • No added sugars
  • Sulfites/sulphites
  • Nitrates/nitrites
  • Phenylalanine
  • Partially hydrogenated oils
  • Sugar alcohols