Program Identifies Healthy Foods in the Grocery Store

Thumbs UpThe Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program Thumbs Up! Program was designed to support and guide Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) participants and other members of their community in navigating a grocery store and making healthy food choices. The goal of the program is to modify purchasing behavior toward healthier food options.

The program is currently being piloted in Milan, MO, at Richardson’s Supermarket. In May 2011, Thumbs Up! labels were placed on store shelves beneath specific food items that met nutrition criteria selected by registered dietitians at Canyon Ranch Institute and the CRI LEP in Sullivan County, MO.

Nutrition Criteria

Nutrition criteria guided the selection of the foods that received the Thumbs Up! label. These foods included whole food products (nuts, barley, beans), whole grain products (barley, brown rice, whole grain breads and pasta), and fresh fruits and vegetables.


An in-store poster announced the Thumbs Up! program, and an information flyer was placed in shoppers’ grocery sacks. The flyer included recipes and helpful hints for using Thumbs Up! foods.


The evaluation plan for Thumbs Up! is based on analyzing grocery store sales data collected pre- and post-program. In the initial phase of the program, 254 Thumbs Up! items were tracked. Although the pilot program continues through the end of 2011, preliminary results are positive, showing an increase in the purchase of Thumbs Up! items. These included beans, healthy condiments, green tea, whole wheat flour, nuts and seeds, and low- fat dairy products.

Monthly sales data collection, reporting, and analysis will continue to account for seasonal, holiday, and other time-based influences.

Read the article from The Milan Standard