A new star rating system is to be introduced into Australia and New Zealand to rate the nutritional value of packaged foods. The star system is an optional scheme and will be similar to what we're used to for energy rating on home appliances.
Although there is a lot of controversy about the scheme being positive or not, research has shown that the stars have a positive effect on consumers’ ability to identify healthier food products. Packaged foods are rated from a half to five stars with foods with more nutritional value having higher number of stars. It will look like this:
The stars are calculated in line with dietary guidelines, taking into account four aspects of a food associated with increasing the risk factors for chronic diseases (energy, saturated fat, sodium and total sugars) along with certain ‘positive’ aspects of a food such as fruit and vegetable content, and in some instances dietary fibre and protein content.
The scheme is thought to take 6 to 12 months to introduce. The NZ Heart Foundation and Medical Association has welcomed the news, saying that a less complicated food labelling system helps consumers make healthier food choices. It will certainly be interesting to see how the system works, I know I'll be checking out the foods in our trolley again!