Food industry farewells Heart Tick, thanks Heart Foundation

18 October 2016

The NZ Food and Grocery Council laments the retiring of the Heart Foundation’s Tick rating on packaged foods and praises the contribution the programme has made to healthy food messages over the decades.

“I’m saddened by this move but I fully understand the Heart Foundation’s reasoning behind it,” says Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

“The nutrition landscape is undergoing constant change, as evidenced by the introduction of the Health Star Rating scheme and the decision to close down the Tick in Australia, but FGC’s view was that it was a valuable complementary scheme here in New Zealand.
“For more than 25 years the scheme has highlighted for New Zealanders what are healthier choices within food categories. It has high recognition and has been relied upon by many people, but the trust it embodies comes from the foundation’s backing as the source of truth about good nutrition, and that will continue strongly.

“The Heart Foundation was a trailblazer with the introduction of the Tick. For example, they insisted on including a nutrition information panel on the back of all Tick-packaged foods some 13 years before nutrition panels were mandated by the government.

“I would like to pay tribute to the work of the foundation with their contribution to healthy lifestyles dialogue.

“Tony Duncan has been the CEO since 2003, and through his leadership and engagement with the food industry they have encouraged massive reformulation of foods to reduce salt, fat and sugar.

“With people like Tony and Dave Monro, the foundation is a trusted collaborative organisation that is skilled in reaching consensus when there are different views. In an environment where there is a lot of noise, the Heart Foundation gets results.   

“So though it has announced a phase-out of the Tick labels, I have no doubt it will continue its strong healthy diet conversation in other areas. In terms of on-pack messaging that help people make healthier choices among packaged foods, products using the government-backed Health Star Rating system continue to roll out every month. ”