Health Star Rating
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).
Research with New Zealand consumers in 2013 showed that the Health Star Rating system helps consumers identify healthier foods when faced with a choice. This was true for the all consumers including Maori and Pacific consumers.
Applying the Health Star Rating system to products is voluntary. MPI will work with industry on the detail of implementing the new system to ensure all requirements are understood, including:
- how the stars should be presented
- how to determine how many stars to allocate to their products.
MPI will monitor uptake of the system.