The Australian Beverages Council fully supports the Health Star Rating (HSR) system and has been actively involved in its creation, implementation, performance and review since inception.

The HSR is designed to provide key information that allows consumers to make visual comparisons of products within the same category. Further nutrient information is also available in the Nutrition Information Panel on food packaging.

Health Star Ratings can appear on packs in a few ways:

  • As just the star rating of the product
  • As the star rating plus additional specific nutrient content (fats, salt and sugar)

What Does the Health Star Rating Mean?

The Health Star Rating designates the healthiness of products by comparing nutrients using a star visual rating. A beverage can score between half a star and 5 stars, with 5 stars being the healthiest. Plain bottled water scores 5 stars as it is the healthiest beverage. A wealth of research has shown consumers understand, support and value the scheme.

The Australian Beverages Council supports the ongoing review of the HSR and is actively engaged in the current formal review of the system after five years of implementation (June 2014 to June 2019). Further information about the review can be found here.

Health Star Rating Five-Year Review and How it Impacts Beverages

The Australian Beverages Council actively engages with, and supports the review process of the HSR system. In 2020, the recommendations from the Five-Year Review were announced, followed by ongoing stakeholder consultation to confirm issues pertaining to specific products. The ABCL engaged with the Department of Health to support the development of the definition of unsweetened flavoured waters, which now score an automatic 4.5 stars. In addition, we clarified definitions for flavoured milks and non-dairy milks so as to be more closely aligned with the Food Standards Code and not to unfairly exclude products that are of health benefit.

Prior to the HSR Five-Year Review, ratings could appear on pack as the energy icon only, stars-on-pack rating plus additional specific nutrient content of the product.

The 2020 changes to the system now mean that the energy icon only graphic is no longer compliant with the HSR system. Beverage manufacturers are transitioning to the stars-on-pack graphic and may choose to include the specific nutrient content information also. For more information on the changes to the system, visit our Member Portal or the HSR website.

Under the system, packaged foods are allocated a star rating based on their nutritional profile. This includes:

  • Energy (kilojoules).
  • Risk nutrients – saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugars.
  • Positive nutrients – dietary fibre, protein and the proportion of fruit, vegetable, nut and legume content.


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