Picture this, you're at the supermarket, you've been standing in
aisle 5 staring at the back of the baked beans tin for the last 5
minutes trying to decipher if it's a healthy choice or not.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a quick and easier way to
identify the healthiest option at a glance and take the guess work
Well, now there is…
The new Health Star Rating system is a voluntary front-of-pack
labelling scheme that you may start to notice on the food packaging
on your supermarket shelves. It aims to help shoppers easily
compare similar packaged and processed foods to help them make a
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat mostly
unprocessed, unpackaged foods from the core food groups. But when
we do eat packaged foods, it's often difficult to know what to
choose. This is where the rating comes in, aimed at giving us a
The Health Star Rating system provides a rating of the overall
nutritional profile of a given food through the use of a ½ a star
to 5 stars rating system - in short, the more stars the
better! Stars are calculated by assessing the amount of energy,
saturated fat, sugars, sodium, fruit, vegetable, nut and legume
content as well as dietary fibre and protein.
This system provides a standardised way to compare similar
packaged and processed foods, for example comparing different
breakfast cereals. The calculations that are used to determine the
Health Star Ratings for each product are specific to the category
of food that they fall into, so the Health Star Rating won't help
you to compare a muesli bar with chocolate milk.
Just in case you were wondering, manufacturers do not pay to use
the system or apply to have the rating put on their products.
And because the system is at this stage voluntary, not all
manufactures are going to get on-board.
Therefore whilst this system will help you to choose a healthier
option, it might not always be available. In these instances,
you might need to refer back to the nutrition information panel on
the back of the product. We have some helpful tips and tricks on
our Healthy Shopping website
that can assist you when this is the case.
More information about the Health Star Rating system is
available at: www.healthstarrating.gov.au.