Last September, the New Zealand Beverage Council (NZBC) unanimously agreed to adopt the Health Star Ratings on the label of beverages sold in supermarkets. It was a significant move for the industry, provided that the NZBC accounts for nearly all non-alcoholic beverages available, producing more than 95 percent of them. Since the labelling system was introduced in 2014, it has received broad endorsement from diverse food sectors, but it is safe to say that the NZBC’s backing was one of the most relevant.
Chosen for its graphical clarity, the front-of-pack labelling scheme was developed in collaboration with NZBC and its members.
“It is unlike all other nutrient profiling systems, which classify food as either ‘Healthy’ or ‘Unhealthy’,” Olly Munro, president of the NZBC, told SupermarketNews. “These ‘black and white’ systems do not portray reality, as there are varying shades of grey.”
According to Munroe, that is only one of its key benefits.
“It is also transparent and easy for consumers to interpret,” he said. “In addition, the HSR takes into account both positive and negative nutritional data, therefore it is based on science, not prejudice. And finally, it is supported by public health, industry and government. As for its reach, it covers both Australia and New Zealand, and almost by default will extend to Pacific Island countries.”
The war on sugar drinks is winning another battle.