The third phase of the Health Star Rating (HSR) campaign launched on Sunday 17 April and includes a new range of advertising to help consumers understand how to use the Health Star Rating system.
The Health Star Rating is a front-of-pack food labelling system which provides an at-a-glance comparison using stars, from half a star to five, between similar packaged and processed food. The rating on the overall nutritional profile of the food considers energy, risk nutrients, saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugars, and positive nutrients, dietary fibre, protein and the proportion of fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content. Essentially, the more stars on the front of pack, the healthier the choice.
It allows grocery buyers to quickly compare similar packaged products, to see which one is the healthier option. You can compare breakfast cereals with breakfast cereals or muesli bars with muesli bars for example, but not between vastly different products, such as yoghurt and frozen lasagne.
Over 3000 products, from at least 75 companies, now carry the Health Star Rating as at March 2016. The system is also prompting product change, with at least one cereal manufacturer and one muesli bar manufacturer reformulating their products to improve the nutrient profile, resulting in improved health star ratings.
Consumer awareness of the Health Star Rating system is also improving, with findings from evaluation research in October 2015 showing that the system is achieving behaviour change. Over half of those surveyed who had seen the campaign, have used the Health Star Rating system to help choose a new product (55%).
Nearly 3 in 4 people surveyed (72%) agreed that the system makes it easier for them to identify the healthier option, makes it easier for them to compare products in the same section of the supermarket and helps them think more about nutrition when buying food.
The Health Star Rating system is a joint Australian, State and Territory governments initiative in partnership with industry, public health and consumer groups.
To better understand the importance of healthy eating and for more information on how to use the Health Star Rating system, visit www.healthstarrating.gov.au