Dietary Interventions

SHINE and the Population Interventions Unit are leading research on the impact of Health Star Ratings (HSR) on packaged food, as part of the NZ-led DIET Programme. In 2014 Australia and New Zealand adopted a new voluntary, interpretive front-of-pack nutrition labelling system, the HSR, ranging from half a star (least healthy) to five stars (most healthy).

The adoption of the HSR has created a natural experiment that could have important effects on population diets. This project is world-leading because we have comprehensive data to estimate the impact on:

  • Reformulation of all packaged foods (not just a select sample) using annually collected data on food composition in both Australia and New Zealand
  • Household food purchasing behavior using New Zealand HomeScan panel data from Nielsen NZ.

Our research includes:

  • Panel study analyses of food products in both Australia and New Zealand found that the adoption of a HSR led to a more health healthy formulation of the foods.
  • Forthcoming analyses of consumer purchasing changes in response to HSR labelling on foods.
  • Forthcoming analyses of how both the reformulation and consumer purchasing impacts of the HSR lead into health gains and health expenditure changes (a collaboration of the BODE3 program, the DIET program and SHINE).

Many research groups undertake modelling of the impact of dietary interventions. SHINE will make a growing contribution to this research space, building on previous research such as: