What is the Health Star Rating on food packaging?

The Health Star Rating system is designed to provide all shoppers with a quick and easy way to understand nutrition information on pre-packed foods.

The visual guide gives a snapshot of the nutrition quality of food products to make it easy for you to compare similar foods, and make healthier food choices.

Who’s responsible for the Health Star Rating system and where did it come from?

The Federal and State Governments of Australia and New Zealand endorsed the Health Star Rating system in June 2014 following a lengthy government-led consultation process with public health organisations, food and beverage industry representatives and consumers.

In August 2019, an independent five year review of the system examined its impact and found that it was performing well:
  • Studies consistently show that the HSR system is well aligned with Dietary Guidelines and effectively directs consumers towards foods lower in energy, saturated fats, sugars and sodium;
  • Most consumers view the HSR system as easy to understand and use, and feel that it makes it easier to decide which packaged foods are healthier;
  • In New Zealand, 28% of consumers were influenced by the HSR to change their purchasing behaviour and purchase a product with more stars.
  • The HSR System is encouraging food manufacturers to make new and existing products healthier.
In July 2020, a number of recommendations from the five year review were endorsed for implementation. Among these, fresh and minimally processed fruit and vegetable products will now automatically receive a 5 star rating, the calculation of the Health Star Rating has been modified to more closely reflect the Dietary Guidelines, and the standalone use of the energy icon will no longer be used.

How does the Health Star Rating system work?

Products are ranked on a scale of 0.5 to 5 stars. The more stars a product gets, the healthier the choice.


You can use the Health Star Rating to quickly compare similar packaged products, to see which one is the healthier option. So you can compare one breakfast cereal with another breakfast cereal, or one muesli bar with another muesli bar.

The Health Star Rating is not meant to compare different types of foods. So, for example, it's not meant to compare a yoghurt with a packet of crisps.

The Health Star Rating of a product is determined by using a specific calculation based on the amount of:

  • energy
  • protein
  • saturated fat
  • sugars
  • fibre
  • sodium
  • as well as values for the presence of any fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.

Do all products have a Health Star Rating label?

According to the five year review, approximately one-third of packaged foods in Australian and New Zealand supermarkets now carry the Health Star Rating, with voluntary uptake increasing since implementation.

Some of the foods that are ineligible for a Health Star Rating include tea, coffee, non-nutritive condiments such as salt, pepper, vinegar and herbs, spices, and foods for specific purposes such as foods for infants and formulated supplementary sports foods.

Does Sanitarium support the Health Star Rating system?

We do! At Sanitarium, we’re committed to the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders so we want to ensure the nutrition information on our products is easy to understand. That’s why we were among the first food manufacturers to adopt the system and use it across all our products.
We’re proud to say, more than 80% of our product range carries a Health Star Rating of 4 or above!

Food labelling

We have more information on food labelling on our Reading Food Labels page.



  1. The Health Star Rating. Health Star Rating System. [Internet] 2014 [updated Dec 2014; cited 2016 April 21]; available from: http://healthstarrating.gov.au/
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