An astute grocery shopper may have noticed a few Stars appearing in the supermarket aisles. A lot of food companies have been busy getting these onto packs, and some have even done some work behind the scenes, changing their recipes for the better first.
Whilst it’s a government led initiative focussed on providing clearer information for people to make healthier food choices, it has drawn a fair amount of criticism and confusion along the way.
So while the Health Promotion Agency puts a few final touches to their consumer education campaign (which you’ll see in 2016), perhaps a few quick facts on what the Health Star Rating is (and isn’t), might be helpful:
Health Star Rating IS:
• Designed to compare foods within the same category (i.e. biscuits with biscuits)
• Assesses nutrients & ingredients to provide an overall rating based on levels of: energy, saturated fat, total sugars, sodium
also protein, dietary fibre
and levels of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes
• Designed for packaged foods only
- just because an apple isn’t showing a 5 star doesn’t mean it’s not great stuff
• A comparative tool, i.e. the more the Stars the better
- that doesn’t mean you need to find a 5 Star every time, with some types of foods, e.g. one where 2 Stars are common, a 3 star might be the healthiest choice.
Health Star Rating is NOT:
• Going to completely sort out your diet, remember unpackaged foods are important
- fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, fish etc are super nutritious foods
• A signal to eats lots – you still need to think about sensible serve sizes
• Too costly for small businesses. It’s free for any business to use.
Want to know more: Head to the Ministry of Primary Industries for all the tools