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Unhealthy snack bars don’t reveal health rating: survey

granola bars on white background - diet and breakfastMore than 63 per cent of snack bars on major supermarket shelves do not display the government-led Health Star Rating system, and some manufacturers only use the stars on high-rating products, a new survey has revealed.

The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) surveyed 164 bars, including nut bars, muesli bars, fruit bars, oat slices and cereal bars, in major supermarkets. It found that the products that did not carry health stars were the least healthy, with most scoring between 1 and 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars.

“Leading brands such as Kellogg’s and Weight Watchers have not put health star ratings on any of their snack bars, while Carman’s appears to be using the system as a promotional tool by only displaying the stars on its healthiest products. Unless all brands put the stars on all products, it’s very difficult for shoppers to compare at a glance and make an informed choice,” OPC Executive Manager Jane Martin said.

“Sixty two per cent of grocery buyers said they would use health stars if they were on muesli bars. It’s a quick and reliable way for consumers to cut through the spin and make healthier choices.

“We want to see the federal government make the Health Star Rating system mandatory to ensure food manufacturers use the system as it was intended and display the stars on all of their packaged foods.”

Snack bars are extremely popular with one in six Australians eating them every week.

“Most people buy these products thinking they’re a healthy snack choice for themselves or their children. Many would be shocked to know that some Weight Watchers and Special K bars would score as low as 1.5 out of a possible 5 on the star rating system,” Martin said.

 

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