What is a Health Star Rating?

The Health Star Rating is a front-of-pack labelling system that rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars. It provides a quick, easy, standard way to compare similar packaged foods. The more stars, the healthier the choice.

Why do we need a Health Star Rating?

As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world with 63% of adults and one in four children being overweight or obese (reference: OECD June 2014 and Australian Health Survey 11/12).

Most products carry a Nutrition Information Panel which provides important information about the contents of the food. But as shoppers we are busy, so the Health Star Rating provides an easy way to compare similar packaged food and helps you make healthier choices.

Choosing foods that are higher in positive nutrients and lower in risk nutrients that are linked to obesity and diet-related chronic diseases; (saturated fat, sodium (salt), sugars and energy), will help contribute to a balanced diet and lead to better health.

Who developed the Health Star Rating system?

The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups. View the Acknowledgements page.

The development of the Health Star Rating system has been jointly funded by Australian, state and territory governments. It is being implemented from June 2014 on a voluntary basis by the food industry over the next five years, with a review of progress after two years and a formal review at five years.

Who calculates the Health Star Ratings?

The number of stars is determined using a calculator designed to assess positive and risk nutrients in food (The Health Star Rating Calculator). The algorithm that drives the calculator was developed in consultation with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other technical and nutrition experts.

Food manufacturers and retailers are responsible for the correct and accurate use of the Health Star Rating system. This includes correctly calculating the Health Star Rating, accurately displaying nutrient information, ensuring consistency of information between the Health Star Rating and the Nutrition Information Panel, and complying with all relevant legislation and regulations.

Research on the Health Star Rating system

In addition to monitoring, the five year review and evaluation of social marketing campaigns, much external research on the HSR system (that is, not commissioned by HSR governance bodies or administrators) is also being conducted. Below is a register of published papers and reports of which we are aware:

Register of HSR research (PDF 76 KB)
Register of HSR research (Excel 16 KB)

Please inform the Front-of-Pack Labelling Secretariat, via frontofpack@health.gov.au, if you are aware of other published peer-reviewed papers or rigorous reports which are directly relevant to the HSR system.