As we anticipated in April this year, the Tick Programme’s days were, indeed, numbered. The Heart Foundation has officially announced that the Tick will be gradually phased out next year, 25 years after its launch.
In explaining the move, Tick Programme manager Deb Sue said the nutrition landscape in New Zealand had changed, with the food industry increasingly adopting the Health Star Rating scheme, now used by over 2,000 products. “Additionally, the HSR is prompting food manufacturers to reformulate products so that they gain higher star ratings,” said Sue.
Thanking Kiwis who had trusted the Tick brand since 1991, Sue added that the Heart Foundation would continue its work ‘behind the scenes’. “While the Tick is moving off the shelves, the Heart Foundation will continue to own the trademark and be a trusted voice in the food space through our existing activities.”
The news followed the announcement on Monday that New Zealand’s biggest grocery retailers, Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises, had committed to rolling out the Health Star Ratings across their private label portfolio, as part of Retail NZ's Pledge on Reducing Childhood Obesity.
"In signing up to support product reformulation, education initiatives, healthier food choices and the use of Health Star Ratings, they are joining the work manufacturers have been doing," said Katherine Rich, chief executive of the Food & Grocery Council. "Product reformulation to remove sugar, salt and fat from all sorts of foods, as well as making available low-cal and no-cal beverage options, has been going on for some years. And manufacturers have backed that up by developing or supporting many healthy food and lifestyle programmes in schools and communities."