Consumer research was undertaken in two parts, a qualitative stage and quantitative stage. This provided insights into current understanding and the likely impact of the proposed system and provided guidance on development and implementation.
Reports for both of the stages are available to view.
Further consumer research was then undertaken to measure the factors that drive decision making and the likely impact of the Health Star Rating system on consumer purchasing behaviour. The report for this research is available to view.
Overall the research identified strong acceptance of the Health Star Rating system. It indicated that there are clear opportunities to encourage shoppers to make health information part of food choice. The current different elements involved in calculating the ‘healthiness’ of packaged foods would indicate that there is a role for additional tools to assist people in better understanding what they are buying and exerting potential influence on packaged food choices.
Other key findings indicated:
- that decisions around food choices represent a complex behaviour that will be influenced by a range of factors, only one of which will be the availability of a Heath Star Rating. These include, taste, cost, choice/availability, context, and purpose for the food choice (e.g. as a treat),
- the Health Star Rating system will be used differentially across food groups. Generally, consumers in the research highlighted a stronger potential for use in those foods where nutrition becomes an actual consideration in choice, such as cereals, dairy and pre-prepared meals. Treat focused items like sweets and snack foods are not eaten for their nutritional value and therefore are unlikely to be as greatly impacted by the rating.
This report evaluates the impact of the Health Star Rating campaign activity to date, as well as tracking awareness and attitudes relating to the Health Star Rating system.
Evaluation of the Health Star Rating campaign is ongoing and reporting will be updated after future waves of research have been conducted.
Frequently asked questions
What campaign activity is the government using to promote the Health Star Rating?
The Health Star Rating campaign and website launched in December 2014.
The second Phase of advertising ran through July to September 2015, and further Phases of campaign activity are planned for later in 2015 as more products carrying the Health Star Rating become available to shoppers.
How do we know the advertising is working?
All government-led campaigns are subject to formal evaluation.
For the Health Star Rating campaign, benchmark research was conducted in September 2014 (ahead of the launch of the Health Star Rating), with the first wave of campaign evaluation conducted in late August 2015. Future waves of research will be conducted after Phases of campaign activity to track the progress of the campaign.
The research seeks to measure people's awareness and understanding of the campaign, and Health Star Rating generally, through questions such as:
- Apart from brand names, can you think of any nutrition logos or labelling that you have been seen on food packaging to help you decide how healthy it is? If so, what was it that you saw?
- Apart from brand names, have you seen any ads about nutrition logos or labelling on food packaging to help you decide how healthy it is?
- Which of the following nutrition logos or labelling on food packaging have you seen or heard of? (with logos shown for various labelling systems, including Health Star Rating).
The research also explores the channels through which people saw the advertising, how they felt about the advertising, what they did as a result of seeing it, and whether it is influencing purchasing behaviour in a positive and sustained way as intended. The evaluation report will be published on the Health Star Rating website after all campaign activity and evaluation research is complete.
How do we know the HSR system is working?
The National Heart Foundation has been engaged to conduct monitoring and evaluation of the HSR system. Part of this research seeks to measure consumers’ awareness and ability to use the HSR system correctly, through questions such as:
- When the Health Star Rating system is on the packaging of food, what do you think it means?
- In the past three months have you purchased a product that had the Health Star Rating system?
- Did the Health Star Rating system on the product influence your choice?
- How did it influence your choice?