On February 5, 2016 the Lerner Center at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, in collaboration with Nojaim Bros.Supermarket in the Near Westside, rolled out NuVal®, a food indexing system that educates customers about better choices while shopping in the grocery store.
“We know how difficult it is to make healthier choices amidst confusing messages. The NuVal system is a simple way for folks to navigate the grocery store,” said Paul Nojaim, owner and president of Nojaim Bros. Supermarket Market, Inc. Nojaim’s, a third generation family owned business, has been a vital anchor institution in the Near Westside for over 96 years.
The launch of NuVal is a result of investments made by a partnership of community agencies led by the Lerner Center and the Near Westside Initiative at Syracuse University, St. Joseph’s Health Center and Nojaim Brothers Supermarket; additional partners include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County and the Onondaga County Health Department. The work of the partnership is also supported by grants from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and the New York State Health Foundation.
Building upon the partnership’s vision to create a healthier community, as well as continual resident feedback, Nojaim’s implemented an easy and simple to use way for shoppers to be informed about more nutritious food options. The NuVal system, ranking products on a scale of 1-100, allows shoppers to make comparisons between food items, and encourages shoppers to try small yet sustainable changes by “trading up” to foods that are more nutritious. NuVal scores, highlighted on individual shelf tags, launched in Nojaim’s in February of 2016 and will be rolled out aisle by aisle over the next few months. The roll-out of scores is purposeful, as it allows for product movement data analysis, and partner and customer feedback along the way.
“For us to make long-term progress in population health, we need partners like Paul Nojaim,” said Rebecca Bostwick, program director of the Lerner Center. “The NuVal system in Nojaim’s creates an environment that supports education and ultimately better choices for customers. This is about making small but meaningful changes in a sustainable way, while respecting individuals’ choices and empowering them with the tools to make informed decisions about their health.”