600 products have Health Star Rating

23 October 2015

More than 600 food products on New Zealand supermarket shelves are now displaying the Health Star Rating logo, according to latest figures.

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew says there is strong support from both private label and branded products.

“Over half the products on shelves with the Health Star Rating are supermarket-own brand products, which shows strong support from both manufacturers and retailers for this labelling system.

“This initiative is one of the ways we are working with the food industry to improve food labelling and make healthy choices easier for consumers.

“Our two major supermarket owners, Foodstuffs and Progressives, are beginning to display the ratings on their bulk food bins, and over 500 of their own brand products will be carrying the ratings by the end of the year.

“The food industry has an important role to play in the government’s plan to reduce childhood obesity. As a result of this rating system businesses are looking more carefully at their recipes to see where there is room to reformulate and improve the nutritional content.” 

Earlier this month members of the New Zealand Beverage Council agreed to phase in the rating system as they update their labels. This will impact on more than 95 per cent of all juice and non-alcoholic beverages sold in New Zealand.

The council said it will subject the success of the initiative to independent review.

It will also fully support a comprehensive consumer education programme that involves all parties to draw attention to the system’s usefulness.

Council president Olly Munro said the move was further acknowledgement that the beverage industry recognises it can make an important contribution to help those dealing with issues relating to health and lifestyle choices. He said changing labels was a multimillion-dollar cost but the industry was committed to assisting consumers understand better what’s in their food and to make better choices.

The industry would also continue to offer a range of low and no kilojoule options, would continue to look at ways of reducing sugar in its products, and was working on smaller or alternative pack and portion sizes, as well as remaining committed to responsible marketing.

Further information about the Health Star Rating system can be found on the Food Smart website, and information about the Childhood Obesity Plan can be found at www.health.govt.nz.