Monitoring implementation of Health Star Ratings

The Health Star Rating system began in 2014 and was implemented over 5 years with regular monitoring and reviews of progress. Find out about the monitoring and reviews.

Health Star Rating implementation reviews

The Health Star Rating (HSR) system was implemented voluntarily over 5 years, from June 2014 with a:

Areas being monitored

Three areas were monitored:

  • label implementation and consistency with the HSR system style guide
  • consumer awareness and ability to use the HSR system correctly
  • nutrient status of products carrying an HSR system label.

Who's involved?

The trans-Tasman HSR Advisory Committee (HSRAC) oversaw monitoring of the HSR system.

Collection and analysis of data were coordinated by:

  • MPI in New Zealand
  • the National Heart Foundation in Australia.

5-year independent review completed

The final review report was publicly released on 19 August 2019. Independent consulting company ‘mpconsulting’ did the review.

The 5-year review of the HSR system considered if, and how well, the objectives of the system had been met. It identified several options for improvements to the system, including communication, monitoring, governance and system/calculator enhancements. As part of the review, a Technical Advisory Group was set up to analyse the performance of the HSR Calculator and respond to technical issues.

The review involved extensive consultation. 

Find out more - Australian HSR website

Recommendations from the review

The review found that the HSR system has been performing well. While there is a broad range of stakeholders with diverse opinions, there is also strong support for the system to continue.

The recommendations contained in the review report are designed to address some of the main criticisms of the system. The main recommendations from the report are that:

  • the HSR system continue as a voluntary system with the addition of some specific industry uptake targets and that the Australian, state and territory and New Zealand governments support the system with funding for a further 4 years
  • that changes are made to the way the HSR is calculated to better align with dietary guidelines, and including fresh fruits and vegetables into the system
  • that some minor changes are made to the governance of the system, including the transfer of the HSR Calculator to Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

The next steps will be for members of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation to respond to the review report and its recommendations. It is anticipated that the forum will respond before the end of 2019.

The 5-year review report – Australian HSR website

2-year review

The 2-year trans-Tasman review looked at:

  • outcomes of monitoring the HSR system in Australia, including the 3 areas above
  • outcomes of monitoring the HSR system in New Zealand, including the 3 areas above
  • updates on the social marketing campaigns in Australia and New Zealand, including campaign evaluations
  • summaries of:
    • anomaly and dispute submissions considered by the trans-Tasman Health Star Rating Advisory Committee (HSRAC)
    • stakeholder engagement activities
    • requests for information from stakeholders
    • media commentary
    • issues that have been raised for inclusion in the formal review at 5 years
  • changes to governance arrangements
  • proposed activities to continue support for HSR implementation.

The 2-year review report – Australian HSR website

Related NZ reports

Review of form of the food ('as prepared') rules

HSRAC is reviewing the form of the food ('as prepared') rules in The guide for industry to the HSR Calculator.

These rules allow the HSR for certain products (such as powdered soups and drink flavourings) to be calculated when prepared according to packet instructions. However, if the products aren't prepared according to instructions, the HSR may be inaccurate and misleading.

Following consultation, Australian and New Zealand ministers decided in June 2018 that the HSR system can only be used on the product 'as sold'. But there are exemptions for products that are:

  • rehydrated with water
  • diluted with water
  • drained of water
  • drained of brine

This change will be put in place with the outcomes from the 5-year review.

Research reports

Last reviewed: