The food industry agrees that obesity is at a concerning level, so it is putting a huge amount of effort into reformulating food and beverage products to remove sugar, fat or salt and provide consumers with healthier options. This work has been ongoing for years.

As a result of this work, there are now many hundreds more healthier options available to shoppers than there have ever been. There are more low- or no-sugar products on the market now than at any time in New Zealand’s history.

But the reformulation work has not just been for sugar. In the breakfast cereal and bread categories there have also been significant reductions in sodium. This was as a result of the Ministry of Health contracting the Heart Foundation to work alongside the industry.

As at December 2022, there were more than 5900 products in supermarkets with Health Stars on their labels. Some 3300 of those were from FGC-member companies, while the remainder were the home brands of both Foodstuffs and Countdown, and non-FGC members. The steady rise of Health Stars has come about as companies reformulated products to receive a higher rating under the scheme.

Innovations in technology have enabled many of these healthier choices. Some of these changes have been years in development as companies trial different recipes and ingredients with consumers to make sure the improved product suits their tastes.