Food and Beverage Business

Australia and New Zealand may enforce mandatory “health star rating” labels

Australia and New Zealand may enforce mandatory "health star rating" labels Bakery and Cereal, confectionery, Dairy & Soy Food, Fish & Seafood, Frozen, meat, Pan-industry, Refrigerated, Savoury Snacks, Shelf-stable Food and Beverage Business Health Star Rating,HSR Label

Food manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand have received a warning regarding the Health Star Rating (HSR) system on packaged foods. The system, which rates the nutritional profile of foods on a scale from 0.5 to five, was introduced on a voluntary basis in 2014. However, manufacturers were given a deadline to achieve a 70% adoption rate by November 2025.

The Director-General of New Zealand’s Food Safety department, Vincent Arbuckle, has stated that if manufacturers do not meet this target, the use of these labels may become compulsory. He emphasized the importance of working together to achieve the voluntary target and make it easier for consumers to make healthier food choices.

A recent survey revealed that only 30% of packaged food and drink products in New Zealand currently display the HSR label. The report, conducted by the George Institute for Global Health, found a decrease in total HSR uptake in Australia from 40% in 2019 to 36% in 2023.

Despite these challenges, the survey showed that 83% of Kiwi consumers use the star scale label when purchasing packaged foods for the first time. Over 60% utilize HSR at least half the time, with 22% using it occasionally. Additionally, most respondents expressed trust in the HSR system.

Arbuckle emphasized the message to the food industry that there is consumer demand for HSR and that utilizing these labels can benefit food producers. He encouraged consumers to engage with manufacturers to ensure the presence of HSR on preferred products.

In conclusion, the importance of meeting the HSR target and responding to consumer demands for healthier food choices is crucial for the food and beverage industry. By prioritizing the adoption of these health rating labels, manufacturers can align with consumer expectations and enhance their market position.

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