The ‘Health Star Rating’ system is about making it quicker and easier for New Zealand consumers to make better informed, healthy food choices.
The Health Star Rating system is a voluntary front of pack labelling system designed to help consumers make healthier food choices.
The voluntary system will be implemented over the next five years from June 2014.
What the stars represent
The Health Star Rating system uses a star rating scale of half a star to 5 stars. Foods with more stars have better nutritional value. The system also includes nutrient information icons for energy (kilojoules), saturated fat, sodium (salt), and sugars, and can include one beneficial nutrient such as calcium or fibre.
Here are some examples of what the Health Star Rating system might look like on food items:
Use of the health star rating system
The system is designed to be used on most packaged foods. It’s not permitted to be used on alcohol, kava or some foods which have set compositional requirements to meet a special purpose such as:
- Formulated Supplementary Foods for Young Children
- Formulated Supplementary Sports Foods
- Foods for Special Medical Purposes and Infant Formula.
Some foods and drinks (generally those that don’t require a nutrition information panel) such as tea, coffee and or single ingredient products like flour, are not expected to have a Health Star Rating. The system is designed to help consumers choose between similar foods at the point of purchase, so it works best for choices between foods that might usually be seen as alternative choices (e.g breakfast cereals).
Why do we need a Health Star Rating?
As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world with 63% of adults and one in four children being overweight or obese (reference: OECD June 2014 and Australian Health Survey 11/12).
Most products carry a Nutrition Information Panel which provides important information about the contents of the food. But as shoppers we are busy, so the Health Star Rating provides an easy way to compare similarly packaged food and helps you make healthier choices.
Choosing foods that are higher in positive nutrients and lower in risk nutrients that are linked to obesity and diet-related chronic diseases; (saturated fat, sodium (salt), sugars and energy), will help contribute to a balanced diet and lead to better health.
Who developed the Health Star Rating system?
The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health, and consumer groups. View the Acknowledgements page.
The development of the Health Star Rating system has been jointly funded by Australian, state and territory governments. It is being implemented from June 2014 on a voluntary basis by the food industry over the next five years, with a review of progress after two years