CHOICE critical of confectionery makers for not displaying Health Star Ratings

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th September 2016

Australian consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, has criticised confectioners, Mondelez International and Mars for failing to display Health Star Ratings (HSR) on some of their products.

CHOICE spokesperson, Tom Godfrey, said both companies have changed their packaging multiple times since the system was launched two years ago.

“There is no excuse for them hiding the health information their customers crave,” Godfrey said.

CHOICE is encouraging the companies to display the ratings saying its research found 76 per cent of Australians refer to the HSR regularly when choosing processed foods.

“With more than three quarters of Australians referring to the Star Ratings when making decisions in the supermarket, we can only assume the confectionery companies’ failure to adopt the system is because they are embarrassed about the nutritional value of the food they sell,” Godfrey said.

Are CHOICE’s complaints uncalled for?

Despite CHOICE’s complaints, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) says displaying the HSR is voluntary and was never meant to apply to confectionery items.

“The AFGC absolutely supports the right of companies to make their own assessment given there is a five-year review period of its implementation,” the AFGC said in a statement to Australian Food News.

“CHOICE is well aware that the HSR does not apply to confectionery, as it has agreed this with public health groups and the government,” the AFGC said.

In response to CHOICE’s criticism, a spokesperson from Mars Australia referred Australian Food News to the AFGC.

Australia Food News contacted Mondelez for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.