Health Star Ratings to appear on drinks packaging

Non-alcoholic beverages sold at retail level in New Zealand will carry new Health Star ratings (HSR) on their labels as soon as practicable following a decision by members of the New Zealand Beverage Council (NZBC). Adding the HSR system to new labels has already started and it will be applied to all relevant products as packaging is revised or renewed.

Members of the Council, who produce more than 95 percent of all juice and non-alcoholic beverages sold in New Zealand dairies, stores and supermarkets, will subject the success of the initiative to independent review.

They agreed unanimously at the Council’s annual conference in late September that the HSR was a useful tool in helping consumers understand what’s in their food and to enable them to make appropriate choices. In addition to on-pack guidelines they fully support a comprehensive consumer education programme that involves all parties to draw attention to the system’s usefulness.

Council president Olly Munro says the vote is further acknowledgement that the New Zealand beverage industry recognises it can make an important contribution to help those dealing with issues relating to health and lifestyle choices. He said changing labels is a multi-million dollar cost but the industry is committed to assisting consumers understand better what’s in their food and to make better choices.

In addition, the industry would continue to offer a range of low and no kilojoule options, would continue to look at ways of reducing sugar in its products and was working on smaller or alternative pack and portion sizes, as well as remaining committed to responsible marketing.

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