What is the Health Star Rating?

Ever strolled down the grocery aisles and noticed those interesting star labels on your favourite foods and beverages? They are more than just decorations – they are the Health Star Rating! You are probably wondering, what are those and what do they mean?  

The Health Star Rating, or HSR for short, offers a quick summary into the nutritional value of the food you consume. They are used as a guide, helping you make informed choices when choosing food and beverages. In this blog post, we will learn about the HSR.  


What is the Health Star Rating? 

The HSR rates the overall nutritional profile of food and beverages. Foods are labelled with a rating from ½ a star to 5 stars, showcased on the front of the packaged foods. It is created to be an easy-to-use system, focusing on four nutritional elements linked to chronic diseases: energy, saturated fat, sodium, and total sugars. Foods can improve their star ratings scores based on the fruit, vegetable, protein, and dietary fibre content.1  

The purpose of the stars is to only compare products in the same category. For example, we use the starts to compare between a breakfast cereal and another, but not between yoghurt and pasta sauce.2 This system allows consumers to compare similar packaged foods in a quick and easy way, helping them to make healthier choices.3 

Figure 1. The Health Star Rating slogan.4 


Why do we need the Health Star Rating?  

Have you ever thought about how the Health Star Rating could make a difference for you? Here in Australia, we’re grappling with a growing obesity rate, which ranks among the highest globally!5 But this isn’t just about numbers – it’s about our individual health journeys. These trends are directly connected to serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Your choices at the grocery store matter so much; they can truly impact what you bring home from the supermarkets, the snacks you bring to school or work, and what you pack for your kids. They can shape a healthier, happier future for yourself and your loved ones in meaningful ways. The Health Star Rating can guide you toward healthier choices that resonate throughout your daily life, making a positive impact on your overall wellbeing. 


What is the latest update?  

The HSR system was updated in October 2023. Previously confined to the front packaging of foods, this system has now evolved. Here is the exciting news: food companies are now granted the green light to proudly showcase their ratings digitally on their websites. Now with this labelling, you can discover the nutritional stars behind your favourite snacks and meals with just a few clicks. It is very quick and efficient, which is helpful especially when you are grocery shopping online! This update marks a shift towards greater transparency, empowering you to make well-informed choices effortlessly.6 


A drawback of the Health Star Rating  

However, as the HSR is intended to be an easy and quick system, it focuses only on energy, saturated fat, sodium, and total sugars. Hence, it is important to note that while the HSR is effective in highlighting the nutritional elements linked to chronic health diseases, it does not acknowledge other health components present in food products, such as essential vitamins and the potential probiotic benefits they might offer.  

While the HSR provides a good snapshot, it is based on only a limited number of nutrients, to calculate the star rating. This means the HSR is not able to include other positive nutrients in the food such as vitamins, minerals and beneficial bacteria. This is important to consider as foods contain a wider variety of nutrients vital to our overall health.  


What is Yakult’s Health Star Rating? 

Yakult Original currently holds a 3-star rating, while Yakult LIGHT holds 4-stars. The LcS strain form the essence of Yakult, delivering the health benefits that Yakult offers. The LcS strain survive strong stomach acids, reaching the intestines alive. They positively alter and increase the number of beneficial bacteria to improve stool consistency.  


Ultimately, although the HSR is helpful and offers a good starting point in making healthy choices, understanding Yakult’s full benefits goes beyond these ratings. To make truly informed and health-driven choices, it’s essential to consider the wealth of research-backed health advantages alongside the HSR! 



  1. Health AGD of. Guide for Industry. www.healthstarrating.gov.au. Published March 2023. http://www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/Content/E380CCCA07E1E42FCA257DA500196044/
  2. Health Star Rating System. How to use Health Star Ratings. Healthstarrating.gov.au. Published 2019. http://www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/Content/How-to-use-health-stars
  3. Health Star Rating System. About Health Star Ratings. Healthstarrating.gov.au. Published 2019. http://www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/Content/About-health-stars 
  4. Australian Government. Health Star Rating. Healthstarrating.gov.au. Published 2011. http://www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/content/home 
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health effects of overweight and obesity . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published September 24, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html 
  6. Guide for Industry. www.healthstarrating.gov.au. Published March 2023. http://www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/Content/E380CCCA07E1E42FCA257DA500196044/ 


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