Health Star Ratings.The Health Star Rating (HSR) system provides a simple way to compare similar packaged foods, making it easier for consumers to make healthier choices at a glance.
The more stars, the healthier the choice. Simple.
Ratings range from ½ a star to 5 stars and are based on the product’s energy, saturated fat, sugars, sodium, protein, dietary fibre and FVNL (fruit, vegetable, nut, legume) content. Specific nutrient information may also be shown.
The HSR system is a front-of-pack labelling scheme being implemented on a voluntary basis over five years. The HSR system was developed through a collaborative process involving governments, industry, public health and consumer groups; and has been endorsed by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation. The two year progress review report on the implementation of the HSR system is available on the HSR website (www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/Content/reviews).
Implementation of the HSR system has progressed well over the first three years, surpassing all expectations. The system continues to have a growing presence in the retail food market with good coverage across products, categories, and manufacturers. Consumer sentiment towards the system has also increased since implementation.
A public consultation, seeking evidence based submissions on the merits of the HSR system, was held from 8 June – 17 August 2017.
The HSR Advisory Committee, responsible for overseeing the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the HSR system, is undertaking a formal five year review of the HSR system. The five year review will consider if, and how well, the objectives of the HSR system have been met, and identify options for improvements and ongoing implementation of the system. The findings of the review will be provided to the Australia and New ZealandMinisterial Forum on Food Regulation in mid-2019.
How to display the starsThe HSR can be displayed on pack in a variety of ways, from the full graphic, through to the star rating or energy icon only, which is particularly well suited to small packages. Full details about how to display or calculate the star rating are included in the Guide for Industry to the Health Star Rating Calculator and the Health Star Rating System Style Guide, both available online.
Response so farThe consumer response to the HSR system has been extremely positive – consumer research testing during the development of the system, and early monitoring consistently shows that most consumers respond positively to the system and very quickly understand how to use the HSR to compare similar packaged foods and make healthier choices. Roughly half of main grocery buyers surveyed indicate that they would use the HSR system on a regular basis if it was displayed on most products available in the supermarket.
Further information about the HSR system, including guidance documents and information about how industry can apply it to food products is available online at the Health Star Rating website at www.healthstarrating.gov.au, or by contacting the HSR Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.