Making shopping easier for your family

What we eat and drink has a big impact on our health. Maintaining a healthy weight, increasing the intake of beneficial nutrients and reducing the intake of risk nutrients is important for everyone. This can help you to live longer, get more out of life and reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

The Health Star Rating system provides an at-a-glance comparison of a product's nutritional profile allowing you to easily compare similar packaged foods and choose healthier options.

Health Star Ratings range from ½ a star to 5 stars. The more stars, the healthier!

Tips for healthier shopping for your family

  • Look for the Health Stars on the front of packaged foods.
  • Compare products within the same category. For example, compare breakfast cereals with other breakfast cereals, but don’t compare muesli bars with pasta sauce.
  • Add fresh fruit and vegetables to each meal and make them the first choice for a snack.
  • Try to make one positive change to the contents of your shopping basket or the ingredients for a meal.
  • Avoid shopping when you are hungry.
  • Many healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, are not packaged and won’t have a star rating. These are a vital part of a nutritious diet so automatiaclly get 5 stars. Some canned and frozen fruits and vegetables get 5 stars too!
  • A high Health Star Rating does not necessarily mean that the food provides all the essential nutrients required for a balanced and healthy diet or that it should be eaten in large quantities.

Simple tips for healthier eating

  • Aim for at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.
  • Keep treats as treats! Some treats have Health Star Ratings to help you make better choices.

  • Limit foods high in saturated fats, added sugar and salt.
  • Watch portion sizes.
  • Pack lunches. Taking healthy foods, including fruit and vegetables, to work or school means we’re less likely to eat unhealthier options.
  • Drink plenty of water.

What is the Health Star Rating system?

The Health Star Rating system was developed by the Australian and state and territory governments, in collaboration with industry, public health and consumer groups.

Under the system, packaged products are given a rating based on their nutritional profile, according to a strict calculation. The calculation takes into account components that are linked to increased risk of developing chronic diseases, as well as beneficial components. This includes:

  • energy (kilojoules);
  • risk nutrients – saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugars; and
  • positive components – dietary fibre, protein and proportion of fruit, vegetables, nut and legume content.

Health Star Ratings can appear on packs in a number of different ways. Most show just the star rating of the product, or the star rating plus additional nutrient content of the product.

The Health Star Rating system is one tool to assist you in making healthier choices. Most products will carry a Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) which provides important information about the contents of the packaged food. The NIP and ingredients list can be used in combination with the Health Star Rating.

This video explains how to use the Health Star Rating system, to help you compare similar products at a glance. More information is available at

More information

The New Zealand Dietary Guidelines provide information for people of different ages, life stages and gender, on the recommended number of serves to eat from each of the five food groups. For more information visit Health New Zealand.

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