NZ Government Press Release
Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced research has
been commissioned to assess New Zealand consumer understanding and
the impact of nutrition labelling on food.
"I have asked the Ministry for Primary Industries to commission
social research about how a Health Star Rating System might be
perceived and understood in New Zealand," Ms Kaye says.
"Over the past 18 months the New Zealand Front of Pack Labelling
Advisory Group has been considering principles for voluntary front
of pack nutrition labelling and reviewing proposals that are being
developed in Australia, specifically the proposal for a star rating
system. The group is made up of food safety officials, public
health and consumer groups, and the food industry.
"The group indicated an interpretive system of marks such as
ticks or stars, that focuses on the nutritional value of the whole
food, is preferable to alternative systems like traffic light
labelling which focuses on individual nutrients.
"The aim of nutrition labelling on the front of food packaging
is to give consumers greater choice in identifying healthy
"The star system gives consumers at-a-glance nutrition
information about the food they are buying using a five-star rating
scale. A higher star rating means better nutritional value.
"The system also includes nutritional information icons for
energy, saturated fat, sodium, and sugars. It can include one
positive nutrient such as calcium or fibre.
"A potential benefit of the simpler front of pack nutrition
labelling could be the changes that food companies decide to make
to their products to make them healthier and get higher star
"Trans-Tasman cooperation is vital in the food area as we share
many foods with our closest neighbour, Australia. That is why we
are doing this research to look at whether a star rating system
like the one the Australians are working on will be useful for New
"The purpose of the research is to get a gauge of the impact of
a voluntary star rating system. The results will be fed into the
decision making process.
"We want to know what consumers think about using such a system
and about how it may impact their choices in the supermarket," Ms
The proposed Australian system was presented to the
Australia-New Zealand Forum on Food Regulation (FoFR) in June this
year. Since then more technical work has been done and the final
system will be presented at the next FoFR meeting in December.
It is anticipated that the research will be completed within the