While the NZBC expects members to fully comply with all advertising and marketing related legislation we believe that our members can do more to illustrate the sugar content of their products in a clear and graphical way.

The New Zealand Beverage Council had a hand in creating the recent Health Star Rating System. It is a system we are urging our members to adopt.

The Health Star Rating is a 10-tier graduated system of stars ranging from 1⁄2 star (least healthy) to 5 stars (most healthy) and is based on methodologies gleaned from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the UK OFCOM system (advertising to children).

‘Bad’ points are awarded for energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium and ‘Good’ points for fruit, vegetables, nuts, protein and fibre. The final score determines the number of stars and we can assume that food and beverages are ‘Very Healthy’ if they rate 4.5 – 5 stars and ‘Healthy’ if they are in the 3.5 – 4 star range.

At the other end of the scale those products with only 0.5 - 1 stars are in the ‘Treat’ category and with 1.5 - 2 Stars in the ‘Occasional’ category.

The Health Star Rating system has several key attributes that give it authenticity:

1. It is transparent
2. It takes into account both positive and negative nutritional data; therefore it is based on science not prejudice
3. It is supported by public health, industry and Government
4. It is not a black and white system but incorporates all shades of grey
5. It covers both Australia and NZ and almost by default will extend to Pacific Island countries
6. It is easy for consumers to interpret.

NZBC has worked with members and Government on the Health Star Rating system and members are now undertaking extensive work across product ranges to implement the system and apply the ratings. These will progressively appear on shelves in the latter half of 2016 and into 2017.

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