(Feb. 10, 3:35 p.m.) Asparagus, blueberries, cauliflower, most varieties of lettuce — rejoice. Dill, kiwifruit, oranges, chili peppers, you’re doing just fine, too.

Coconuts, not so much.

It all depends upon nutritional value as to how a piece of fresh produce, or in this case any stock item found on the shelves of a grocery store, is scored according to the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System being implemented in at least a couple of major food chains on the East Coast.

Schenectady, N.Y.-based Golub Corp.-owned Price Chopper claims to be the first to introduce the system companywide and is implementing it in every one of its 117 stores throughout New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The goal is to eventually score and label every product on the shelves.

“The bottom line is, consumers are asking for quick and easy information,” said Mona Golub, vice president public relations & consumer services for Price Chopper Supermarkets. “This answers the call.

“We believe NuVal is the universal solution. For it to take hold wherever food is sold is what we’re looking for. Price Chopper was the first to commit to and implement the system in all its stores.”

The NuVal system was developed in response to America’s troubling health trends – rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both the adult and child populations — as a potential vehicle to improve public health.

The system is rooted in science and based on a mathematical algorithm developed by David Katz, an authority on nutrition and health sciences, along with a team of medical experts from leading universities and health organizations.

A strength of the system is that it acts independently and is uninfluenced by interests of manufacturers and retailers.

Items are scored with a number 1-100, with the most nutritious products earning the highest scores.

That’s where asparagus, blueberries, cauliflower and the like can rejoice. They’re just a few among the 32 fresh produce items that scored a perfect 100 by NuVal. Others include okra, kohlrabi, fiddlehead ferns and collard greens.

Coconuts, meanwhile, scored the lowest, at 24.

Golub said the average score throughout a store was somewhere between 20 and 40.

“Produce ranged from 24-100, but the majority was higher than 80,” she said. “Seafood was rated quite high as well, but yes, produce has the highest ratings in the store.”

Scores even varied among different varieties of the same commodity. For instance, green leaf, red leaf and romaine lettuce ranked 100, while boston and iceberg lettuce ranked 82. Red grapefruit scored 99, while white grapefruit came in at 94. It all depends upon the nutrient content.

“This system doesn’t alter consumers’ abilities to make decisions for themselves,” Golub said. “It may mean people choose a healthier brand of the foods they like, or a healthier option.

“It will certainly change behavior. We expect that. That’s why the impartiality of this system is so important.”

But will that sit well with suppliers? After all, does a manufacturer of cookies and potato chips really want a nutritional label affixed to their products?

Grower-suppliers of fresh produce seem mixed.

“I don’t think (produce) has to be labled, not on sweet potatoes anyway,” said Kenneth Alexander, owner of Alexander Farms, Vardaman, Miss. “Our Hagen sizer puts a label on every piece, and every label has a code. We have traceability on every sweet potato that comes through. That should be enough.”

Emiliano Escobedo, marketing director of the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacan, Mexico (APEAM), said, “It’s something as a group we’ve looked into. We understand it’s scientific. Representing a fruit that has all the nutritional values and qualities … it’s something we’re appreciative of.”

“Avocados are healthy, so we think it’s a good initiative.”

Golub said Price Chopper hadn’t received any complaints.

“NuVal doesn’t leave any gray area, so all items must participate,” she said. “Companies with products that have low ratings may want to go back and reevaluate what they put into those products, reformulate products to make them healthier for consumers.”