|View printer-friendly version|
|SUPERVALU Introduces Program to Make It Easier for Customers to Live Gluten-Free|
MINNEAPOLIS, Oct 13, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Consuming food containing gluten can be debilitating for people with gluten sensitivity or the more severe celiac disease (also known as sprue). They must rely on strict gluten-free diets for good health. Now, as part of its commitment to provide customers with convenient and affordable health and wellness solutions, SUPERVALU(R) INC. (NYSE: SVU) is offering customers afflicted with gluten sensitivity an informative diet management program throughout its nationwide family of grocery stores, including Acme(R), Albertsons(R), Cub Foods(R), Farm Fresh(R), Hornbacher's(R), Jewel-Osco(R), Shaw's/Star Market(TM) and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy(R).
The new gluten-free program, developed by SUPERVALU'S Health and Wellness team, including registered dietitians, will roll out in phases over the next three months. As part of the program, SUPERVALU's family of stores will provide signage and special merchandising sets in select stores to help make it easier for customers to find gluten-free products. Customers can also visit the customer service department to pick up an in-store shopping list/guide to gluten-free products as well as get their gluten-related questions answered. More extensive gluten-free shopping lists as well as recipes and snack and meal solutions will be available on the stores' websites.
"For people suffering from gluten intolerance, eating foods with gluten causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine, which can result in nutrients passing through the body without being absorbed. This may contribute to other health concerns, including: malnutrition, some types of cancers and a variety of autoimmune diseases," said Anthony Provenzano, SUPERVALU pharmacy director of clinical programs.
"As a whole, the U.S. population is seeing an uptick in gluten intolerance, and there are many more people who have it -- but don't know it. This program is designed to help people manage a gluten-free diet and hopefully encourage others to seek advice from a health care professional about a possible sensitivity to gluten."
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 3 million Americans currently suffer from the inherited celiac disease, and an astonishing 97 percent of Celiacs go undiagnosed or are initially given an incorrect diagnosis. In addition, there is no pharmaceutical cure for the disease. A 100 percent gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment. The foundation says that about 500,000 celiac diagnoses are expected to occur over the next five years1.
More in-store gluten-free help and convenience
"Since there are no existing medical therapies or medications available to relieve symptoms, celiacs and gluten-sensitive people must eat a gluten free diet for good health," said Mary Schluckebier, executive director, Celiac Sprue Association. "A program like SUPERVALU's is extremely helpful in two ways: it provides valuable information and resources to people who rely on finding gluten-free foods for their diet and it also helps educate the general population about gluten sensitivity issues and needs."
"Our gluten-free program is one of a number of programs we've implemented to promote healthy lifestyles for the benefit of the 22 million customers nationwide we serve each week," Provenzano said. "This program, along with our nutrition iQ program, which features easy-to-see, color-coded shelf tags to help consumers quickly identify healthier food choices, will help to provide our gluten-free customers the shopping ease and convenience they deserve."
Most people who eat a gluten-free diet do so because they must. However, a gluten-free diet can also appeal to health-conscious consumers, or those who desire a gluten-free lifestyle for various reasons, such as helping to manage celiac-related dermatitis.
What is gluten and what are the symptoms of gluten intolerance?
About SUPERVALU INC.
About Celiac Sprue Association
1 National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, www.celiaccentral.org