Where will you see the Health Star Rating?
Keep an eye out for the Health Star Rating on supermarket shelves. Since 2014, food manufacturers and retailers have been voluntarily implementing the Health Star Rating system. Displayed on the front of food packages the star rating helps you to compare similar products. Some products such as confectionery and beverages may display the energy icon only - allowing you to compare the energy content of different products. Look for lower energy options for treat foods.
Health Star Ratings can appear on packs in two general ways. The first shows just the star rating of the product; the second can show the star rating plus additional specific nutrient content of the product.
What are the stars based on?
Under the system, packaged foods are given a star rating based on their nutritional profile.
- Energy (kilojoules).
- Risk nutrients - saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugars.
- Positive nutrients - dietary fibre, protein and the proportion of fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content.
Health Star Ratings – range from ½ a star to 5 stars. Compare similar packaged foods – the more stars, the healthier the choice.
Risk Nutrients – saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugars. These are linked to increased rates of obesity and chronic disease if consumed in excess of recommended guidelines.
Positive Nutrients – such as dietary fibre, protein, calcium, or certain vitamins and minerals.
Health Star Ratings for products within a food category can vary significantly depending on the individual nutrient profile of each product. For more information on how nutrient content determines the Health Star Rating visit our consumer FAQs.
What is the information next to the star rating?
The star ratings for all products are calculated based on a consistent measure of 100g or 100mL of a product. This means that the star ratings of similar products can be compared at-a-glance. In addition to the stars, nutrient content of the food may be shown directly below or to the side of the rating. This shows the quantity of nutrients, specifically energy (kilojoules) saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugars that are in the product either per 100g, 100mL for liquids or per pack for single serve foods or per serve/portion (as specified).
The label may also include one positive nutrient, such as protein, dietary fibre, certain vitamins or minerals. These nutrients play an important part in a balanced diet.
The Health Star Rating system is designed to provide key information that allows consumers to make at-a-glance comparisons of products within the same category. Further nutrient information is also available in the Nutrition Information Panel on food packaging.
Is the Health Star Rating for the whole pack or per serve?
To ensure an easy and standard comparison, the number of health stars in the rating is calculated based on 100g or 100mL of a product.
The nutrient information icons (energy, saturated fat, sugars and sodium) may be presented as per 100g, 100mL, or ‘per pack’ where the content of the pack constitutes a single serve (for example, a ready to eat meal for one person). Terms such as ‘per 600mL bottle’ may also be used in some circumstances. In any case, the reference will be specified on the Health Star Rating label.
Will all food products display the Health Star Rating label?
The Health Star Rating system is voluntary and will only appear on packaged food products at the discretion of food manufacturers and retailers (such as supermarkets). There are some food products which are not expected to display the Health Star Rating, which include:
- fresh unpackaged food (such as fresh fruit and vegetables);
- alcoholic beverages;
- formulated products for infants and young children;
- non-nutritive condiments (such as vinegar, herbs and spices);
- non-nutritive foods (such as tea, coffee);
- single ingredient foods not intended to be eaten on their own (such as flour); and
- foods where a Nutrition Information Panel is not required.
For more information on using the Health Star Ratings, go to Making healthier choices easier.