Rating the health star ratings

Following recent news stories questioning the way food brands and companies are using the health star ratings, we asked you your opinions on the subject. We wanted to know if and how health star ratings affect your purchase decisions, and whether or not you think it’s a good idea.

Many of you thought that easy to understand food labelling was important and should be mandatory. Healthy eating is clearly an issue that is important to you.

“It gives the consumer the choice at least to be more aware of what they are buying and consuming.”
“I think the food star system is an excellent start to letting us know what exactly we are eating.”
“After all the consumer is paying for the product, more ratings and labels, please.”

While the principle of health star ratings is supported by many of you, there is plenty of skepticism about how it works in practice.

A large group of you feel that the star ratings do not measure the “healthiness” of foods satisfactorily. You are dubious as to whether foods classified as healthy really are, and whether the ratings are a true indication of what is healthy and what is not.

“I don't always agree with the government's take on what constitutes healthy food.”
“I have some pretty strong ideas about what I want to eat, and I'm not sure my standards match those of the health star rating agency.”
“Some high (very high) levels of sugar are found in foods marked healthy!”

An even more serious concern is whether food companies can be trusted to label their food accurately. Many of you believe that large corporations will undermine the ratings system through misleading labelling.

“Honesty still does not exist so we still cannot believe what these labels display.”
“I don't trust food companies to be honest with their ratings any more than I trust a taxi driver.”
“The ratings scheme should be set and monitored by a body like the Heart Foundation and not the food companies themselves as they cannot be trusted.”

Interestingly, the place of origin of the food you eat is as important to you as the ingredients and nutritional composition of the food. People are clearly becoming more aware of what they buy, what they eat, and where it comes from. With more and more information about food available online, food companies will need to ensure they are completely honest about their products if they are to keep the trust of their customers. Reply

    Last reply: 25th Jun 2017 / 9 replies / Post by Cafestudy Admin

Member comments


Posted by: chickenman
Posted: 19th May 2016

chickenman says: well said lonestar. too much emphasis is placed on marketing.
things that are considered unhealthy today are classed as necessary tomorrow.
processed food is seldom healthy. i eat what makes my body happy. portion size is more important that any "rating" Reply


Posted by: lonestar
Posted: 13th May 2016

lonestar says: well all the labels are to confuse and make the customer buy. No matter what all packed foods contain more sugar. Glad that they have been some improvements with health ratings atleast people can easily opt for better options among and be careful to manufacture food with caution. Reply


Posted by: Anonymous
Posted: 1st Jul 2016

says: I don't think I have ever seen these "health" ratings. But I don't think they sound very trustworthy due to the other comments. Reply


Posted by: frannymanny
Posted: 23rd May 2016

frannymanny says: I must admit I am not sure what the star rating means. I received a sample of instant oats with apple and cinnamon .It has a 4.5 health rating so I took it to my weight loss club. The leader pointed out the amount of sugar sodium etc and wondered what exactly the 4.5 was supposed to mean. Now I am confused too. I was impressed with the 4.5 and would not have questioned any further. Reply


Posted by: col
Posted: 19th Jul 2016

col says: My niece is a dietician with a doctorate in the science. When doing her thesis she discovered that the health star rating does not compare the product to all other foods, but only to products in that group, eg. cereals, chocolate etc.
Col Reply


Posted by: Anonymous
Posted: 17th Aug 2016

says: In some Coles brand stuff, there were this health star rating Reply

Burnt Out Digger

Posted by: Burnt Out Digger
Posted: 26th Oct 2016

Burnt Out Digger says: I agree I dno't know whether or not these health star ratings are valid or if they are something that companies pay for and use as a promotion gimmick Reply


Posted by: Jodie32
Posted: 27th Dec 2016

Jodie32 says: The health star rating is a very big problem and unfortunately too many people believe what we are being told. Major companies promote the health star rating to get their products sold. It's scary that we are being told things like chocolate flavoured breakfast cereal and milk drinks are low GI and are a good start to our day. It's all rubbish. Major sponsors like Nestle and Coca cola have a lot to answer for. I look at the nutritional panel on the package for my information not the "health star" rating! Reply

William Tell

Posted by: William Tell
Posted: 25th Jun 2017

William Tell says: I too believe in companies such as the Heart Foundation instead of the star rating system. As a person with Diabetes Type 2 I would like to see the National Diabetes Association of Australia to become more actively involved with food products giving the diabetics of Australia more security and honesty for them in being more confident in the food that they buy and consume. Reply

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