Guiding Stars Nutrition Guidance Program Launches Enhancement to Help Shoppers Make Better Beverage Choices

More Beverages Now Earn Stars

Portland, Maine (March 8, 2022) — The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program has announced an exciting enhancement to its algorithms, the formula it uses to assign stars to foods and beverages. Drink options that are calorie free, like water and seltzer, are now eligible to earn stars, enabling customers to make better choices while they shop. Examples of new Star-earning beverages include water, seltzers, unsweetened teas, unsweetened coffee, coconut water, kombucha and 100% juices.

“For more than 15 years, Guiding Stars has been helping shoppers make nutritious choices, guiding manufacturers to improve their recipes, and enabling food retailers to meet their customers’ desire for options that promote good health,” said Julie Greene, Director, Guiding Stars. “Through the launch of this new algorithm, we are now able to provide more guidance for shoppers.”

Guiding Stars’ simple nutrition guidance icons allow consumers to save time and be confident about their choices when shopping for nutritious products in store and online: one-star for good, two-stars for better, and three-stars for best nutritional value. Guiding Stars’ icons appear at more than 2,000 grocery retail stores. By leveraging Guiding Stars, retailers can report sales of products that meet an objective, science-based standard for nutritional value.

To evaluate products, Guiding Stars relies on the expertise of a Scientific Advisory Panel to monitor the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and recommendations from national and international health organizations to adjust algorithms. The Panel recommended the beverage algorithm enhancement based on a thorough review of scientific evidence on the importance of beverage choices for the promotion of health and prevention of chronic disease.

“Since sugar-sweetened beverages are the greatest contributor of added sugars in the American diet, we aimed to evolve our guidance to identify beverages that provide hydration, without increasing the risk of chronic disease,” said Leslie Fischer, PhD, MPH, RD, a member of the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel. “The new Guiding Stars approach for the evaluation of beverages allows low- and no-calorie options, such as water and flavored seltzers, to be eligible for stars.”

“By using a positive approach, Guiding Stars makes it easy to make nutritious choices,” added Greene. “We’ll continue to monitor the latest scientific evidence, policies, and regulations to evolve our nutrition guidance program to meet the evolving needs of retailers and their customers and do our part to promote health in the communities we touch.”

About Guiding Stars

Guiding Stars is an objective, evidence-based, nutrition guidance program. Since 2006, it has helped millions of consumers make more nutritious choices, making a positive and lasting impact on public health. The program evaluates foods and beverages when products meet its standard for nutritional value, stars are awarded to indicate good, better, and best nutrition to give consumers simple and easy to understand advice: the more stars a food earns, the more nutritious it is. The Guiding Stars algorithms includes only nutrients that have been researched to the extent that a scientific consensus has been reached and for which the knowledge has been translated into USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans or nutrition policy at either the national or international level. Guiding Stars is currently in more than 2,000 retail grocery stores, including all Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop stores. Guiding Stars can also be found in public schools, universities, corporate and hospital dining facilities, non-profit hunger relief organizations, and is accessible through the Guiding Stars Food Finder app for iOS and Android devices. To learn more about the Guiding Stars program, visit

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Media Contacts:

Christy Phillips-Brown


Erin DeWaters