NZBC Updates On Government Activity And Health Star Ratings

NZBC, government, health star ratings, election 2023

The New Zealand Beverage Council (NZBC) has released updates regarding government activity and health star ratings. 

The NZBC’s update outlined that the past month has been a busy one for feedback on several policy proposals, including consultation with the National Organic Standards, Plastic Packaging Producer Scheme, and the Biannual Food Industry Dialog meeting for officials across Australia and New Zealand. 

With only a few more days until politicians can go into campaign mode, which is a period where public service slows and starts preparing briefing documents for a new set of ministers. The NZBC said that the election campaign period is an excellent opportunity for members to engage with MPs and candidates regarding issues across the beverage industry. 

MP’s and party leaders are always searching for photo opportunities and workplaces to visit, particularly in the last six weeks from early September to the election on October 14th. Most are active on social media and will respond to direct messages, engagement with MPs is an excellent opportunity for business promotion, especially when the media is involved. 

The NZBC continued that MPs and candidates will be interested in learning more about businesses and discovering what would be needed for further growth and what barriers stand. 

Some examples of issues businesses might like to raise with them include the work the beverage sector is doing to be increasingly sustainable in both processes and packaging, the impacts on your business of labour shortages and cost increases, and any problems businesses experienced with the CO2 shortages. 

For Health Stars, the NZBC emphasised that officials must be briefed on how many products include Health Star ratings on the packaging. 

The rating is developed between New Zealand and Australian Governments in collaboration with public health experts, the food industry and consumer groups. Businesses currently use it voluntarily to make it easier for consumers to discern healthier foods and beverages. 

The NZBC’s official position supports the Health Star Rating System, and it is working to ensure all of its members have adopted the systems integrated energy icon on the front of pack labelling. 

The Australian counterpart to NZBC, the ABC, produces an annual audited report on the uptake of the HSR. However, this is expensive, and if the council could collect the data from businesses directly, it would avoid extra administration costs and reassure the government that the industry is following through on its commitment to provide better information for consumers.