Front-of-pack labelling updates

A summary of the development of the Front-of-Pack Labelling project.

Page last updated: 12 December 2015

At its meeting on 27 June 2014, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation endorsed the voluntary front-of-pack labelling scheme, the Health Star Rating (HSR) system. A HSR Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) was established to oversee the voluntary implementation of the HSR system.

The HSR system website and education campaign were launched on Saturday 6 December 2014. Information about the HSR system can be found on the HSR website including the HSR Calculator and the Guide for Industry to the HSR Calculator, the HSR Style Guide, the HSR artwork and information about the Committees overseeing the HSR system implementation.

Health Star Rating Stakeholder Workshops

For information on Health Star Rating Stakeholder Workshops please see the Health Star Rating website.

Health Star Rating Style Guide and Artwork

  • In November 2013, a draft version of the Health Star Rating (HSR) Style Guide was circulated to stakeholders for feedback, which included the original ‘square’ label design.
  • A number of industry stakeholders requested greater flexibility with the label design, such as to accommodate vertical display of the stars and stacked nutrient icons where package size and/or shape requires.
  • Industry representatives offered alternative designs, and subsequently collaborated on a single proposed alternative design. The alternative HSR label design was considered during two workshops (in Melbourne on 10 April 2014 and Sydney on 11 April 2014).
  • The alternative HSR label design was subsequently refined following the workshops and recently underwent further testing to assess consumer’s preference between the old and new designs.
  • The consumer testing indicated that consumers preferred the following design.Refer to following text for a text equivalent of the consumer-preferred label design
    Text version of consumer-preferred label design: Per pack presentation of the full HSR graphic, showing 3.5 stars out of 5 stars, with the arc shaded around the first 3 and a half stars, and the rest of the arc unshaded. Stars are presented in an arc around the top of a circle with shading behind the first 3.5 stars, the number ‘3.5’ in the middle of the circle and the words 'Health Star Rating' at the bottom. Also included are: the energy icon with the word 'energy' at the top, the number of kilojoules (kJ) shown in the middle, and the optional presentation of percentage daily intake (%DI) at the bottom; the saturated fat icon with the words ‘sat fat’ at the top and the number of grams (g) shown in the middle; the sugar icon with the word ‘sugars’ at the top and the number of grams (g) shown in the middle; the sodium icon with the word ‘sodium’ at the top, the number of milligrams (mg) shown in the middle, and the optional ‘low' descriptor at the bottom; and the optional nutrient icon with the word ‘nutrient’ at the top, the number of grams (g) shown in the middle, and the optional ‘high’ descriptor at the bottom. The energy, sat fat, sugars, sodium and nutrient icon are adjoined and vertically rectangular in shape with a curved top and bottom. The graphic is in a horizontal layout with the circular star rating element to the left, and other elements to the right. The entire design is contained within an outline.
  • This image represents the full suite of HSR system graphics that food companies may choose to display. The range of HSR system display options are set out as part of a hierarchy in the HSR system Style Guide (available on the Health Star Rating website). Top of page

Front-of-pack labelling update 14 June 2013

Front of Pack Labelling Update 14.6.2013 (PDF 236 KB)

On 14 June 2013, the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) endorsed a Front-of-Pack Labelling (FoPL) system that, except for agreed exemptions, applies to all packaged, manufactured or processed foods presented ready for sale to the customer in the retail sector and includes:
  • a star rating element and a nutrient information element;
    • the star rating being underpinned by a modified Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (NPSC);
    • a star rating scale of ½ a star to 5 stars, with ½ star increments and a “slider” above the relevant star/half star with the corresponding number to highlight the star rating of the food;
    • the star rating being branded ‘Health Star Rating’;
    • nutrient information elements for saturated fat, sugars and sodium and one optional positive nutrient information element (e.g. calcium) relevant to the particular food; and
    • the option of including the word ‘high’ with the positive nutrient element and ‘low’ with saturated fat, sugars and sodium elements where applicable.
  • an ‘energy’ icon, with the unit of measure in kilojoules; and
  • an alternative FoPL approach for certain foods (e.g. smaller packages may display the energy icon with or without stars, integrated approaches for confectionery and beverages).
The Forum recognised that further work was required to finalise some of the details of the system and that this work would be undertaken over the next 12 months led by the existing FoPL Project Committee.Top of page

The Forum agreed that the FoPL system would be implemented by:

  • a tripartite (government, industry and community – public health and consumer) FoPL Overview and Advisory Committee (subsequently renamed the Health Star Rating Advisory Committee) to oversight monitoring, evaluation, social marketing and education; and
  • a voluntary industry led code of practice administered by a tripartite Code Administration Committee.
The Forum noted that the preferred implementation option in Australia is a voluntary system, subject to there being consistent and widespread uptake of FoPL. If following evaluation after two years, a voluntary implementation is found to be unsuccessful, a mandatory approach will be required.

This would require Food Standards Australia New Zealand to develop a standard.

Industry roll out of the system once it is finalised will be supported by government funded social marketing and communication and education activities.

A communiquè from the meeting of the Forum is available on the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation webpage.

Next steps

Work continues with key stakeholders to finalise and implement the Health Star Rating system. This will include: finalising revisions to the modified NPSC and considering the treatment of dairy under the NPSC; consideration of exemptions and whether the full Health Star Rating system can be used by confectionery and beverages; developing a style guide for application of the Health Star Rating System; ensuring the Health Star Rating system and the modified NPSC aligns with the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, and developing social marketing, communication and educational material for consumers and industry.

It is expected that industry will start utilising the Health Star Rating system, by June 2014 following the completion of this work and amendment of the Australian Food and Grocery Council's Code of Practice for Food Labelling and Promotion.

Proposed Front-of-Pack Label considered by the Forum on 14 June 2013

Refer to the following text for a text equivalent of a proposed front-of-pack label

Text version of proposed front-of-pack label

Per 100g presentation of the full HSR graphic, showing 4 out of 5 stars. Stars are presented within a horizontal rectangle with the first 4 stars shaded black and the 5th star unshaded. A black arrow above the stars contains the number 4 and points to the 4th star. The words 'Health Star Rating' are underneath the rectangle. Below the words ‘Health Star Rating’ are five icons including: the saturated fat icon with the words ‘Sat Fat’ at the top and the number of grams (0.4g) shown in the middle and the optional ‘Low' descriptor at the bottom; the sodium icon with the word ‘Sodium’ at the top and the number of milligrams (135mg) shown in the middle; the sugar icon with the word ‘Sugars’ at the top and the number of grams (25.1g) shown in the middle; the optional nutrient icon with the word ‘Fibre’ at the top, the number of grams (15.7g) shown in the middle, and the optional ‘High’ descriptor at the bottom; and the energy icon with the word 'Energy' at the top and the number of kilojoules (1400kJ) shown in the middle. The sat fat, sodium, sugars and fibre icon are adjoined and rectangular in shape with a curved top and bottom whilst the energy icon is separate and rectangular in shape. The graphic is in a horizontal layout and the entire design is contained within a rectangular outline. Top of page

Front-of-Pack Labelling Consumer Research Reports

Market Research Company Hall & Partners | Open Mind was engaged to undertake initial consumer research and testing to inform the design of the Health Star Rating System label.

Initial consumer research and testing was undertaken in two stages. A qualitative stage was undertaken from December 2012 to January 2013 and a quantitative stage was undertaken in March 2013. Reports for both of the stages are attached below.

FOPL Qualitative Report (Word 248 KB)
FOPL Qualitative Report (PDF 936 KB)

FOPL Quantitative Report (Word 5695 KB)
FOPL Quantitative Report (PDF 1736 KB)

Hall & Partners | Open Mind was contracted to undertake the second stage consumer research to measure the factors that drive decision making and the likely impact of the Health Star Rating system on consumer purchasing behaviour. The report for the second stage research which was undertaken in February 2014 is attached below.

FoPL Stage Two Research (Word 356 KB)
FoPL Stage Two Research (PDF 652 KB) Top of page

Front-of-pack labelling update 4 June 2012

On 9 December 2011 the Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) provided its response to Labelling Logic: Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy (2011), which includes an agreement to develop a single interpretive front-of-pack labelling system. Ministers have requested that an interpretive front-of-pack labelling system be developed by December 2012 through a coordinated approach.

The Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) is responsible for leading the process for developing this system with industry, public health and consumer stakeholders. In March 2012, FRSC established a Steering Committee to manage the process. The Steering Committee comprises all FRSC members and a representative from the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC).

A Project Committee has also been established to develop the system. It comprises cross members from the Steering Committee – representatives from State and Territory Governments, and representatives from:

  • Australian Beverages Council;
  • Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance;
  • Australian Food and Grocery Council;
  • Australian Industry Group;
  • Australian Medical Association;
  • Australian National Retail Association;
  • CHOICE;
  • Obesity Policy Coalition; and
  • Public Health Association of Australia.
The Project Committee has commissioned two working groups to report on technical design, and on implementation, evaluation and education.

The Project Committee has endorsed objectives and principles to guide work of the Committee and working groups.

Stakeholders in the front-of-pack labelling work have been identified from across multi-national corporations, national peak bodies and associations, as well as individuals. Top of page