Just like it has successfully worked for years on electrical appliances for energy efficiency, packaged food is now being ranked using a Health Star Rating. Personally I am incredibly welcome to the idea and have commenced allowing the stars to assist in my selection choice.
The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups to provide a simple and easy method for shoppers to compare the nutritional profile of packaged food.
The number of stars a product receives is determined by a calculator that scores the overall nutritional profile of a food. The calculator was developed in consultation with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and other technical and nutrition experts. Points are awarded for positive nutrients (fibre, protein, fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content) balanced against other nutrients (saturated fat, sugars, sodium) and energy (Kilojoules) to calculate a score per 100g/100mL, depending on the product.
The Health Star Rating system began in June 2014 and is being implemented by the food industry on a voluntary basis over five years. The number of products displaying the Health Star Rating system will increase gradually over this period, but there are already more than 5,500 products displaying the stars.
Today, Australia has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world with 63% of adults and one in four children being overweight or obese. I am in this category myself and while I am exercising and trying to work my weight down while juggling life as a food blogger, every bit of help assists.
As I have started to use the Health Star Rating, I am finding that I am changing my dietary purchases and even if this affects one or a thousand people, those people are better off. My choices for cheese, tinned tuna and even bread have changed and I was quite surprised with my findings using Health Stars.
A very commercial brand of bread was the best I could find as it was displaying a high number of stars and won in front of many “organic, super healthy” labelled breads. In the tuna, while the spring water versions rated highest, the spicier flavours also ranked at 4 stars. I have no guilt having this in a work sandwich a couple of days a week.
The Health Star Rating system is a huge benefit to all and I truly hope that more and more brands flood in to use the system. We are all in this together and better food equals a better population.
This post is sponsored by Health Star Rating. Visit HERE for more info.