Laura Smith scans a wall of pasta sauce jars at a Shaw’s in Waltham, and reaches for her favorite.
“It looks like it would be fantastic for you,” Smith says, showing off the label. “It looks like someone just plucked a bunch of tomatoes and put them in a jar.”
But when Smith scans the jar’s bar code, using an app on her phone, her smile fades.
“It’s a 33,” she says and then pauses. “Wow, 33?”
That’s 33 out of 100 on a healthy food scoring system developed by Newton-based Nutrisavings. Not good. Smith types pasta sauce into the Nutrisavings app and finds one that scores much better, at 75.
“Francesco Rinaldi,” Smith says, turning the jar in her hand. “No salt added, it’s a healthier option, that’s what I’m going to go with.”
Nutrisavings scores more than 200,000 foods on a scale of zero to 100. Sodas are typically a zero. Many fresh fruits and vegetables are up near 100. The company has partnerships with 80 supermarket chains around the country, including Shaw’s, where the score for everything Smith buys is totaled when she checks out.
Smith earned $10 this month just for using the program. She’ll get another $10 every month that her average score is 60 or higher.
“That’s $20 essentially free money just by making modestly healthy decisions and going to the store, which are things I’m going to do anyway,” Smith says.
Who pays? Her health insurance plan, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
The goal is “to get people to understand the value of what they’re putting in their mouths,” says Sue Amsel, a senior product portfolio manager at Harvard Pilgrim. Continue reading