CHOICE has used the recently released Health Star Rating Calculator to compare a selection of supermarket favourites, finding few stars among the offerings from food giant Mondelez, the parent company of Kraft, Cadbury, Nabisco and Oreo.
While the full information needed to calculate the stars is only available to the manufacturer, CHOICE says Health Star Ratings based on the available information show some of the company’s big sellers are not so stellar when it comes to nutrition.
“CHOICE did three product comparisons and found the Health Stars shot down the Mondelez product each time,” says CHOICE Campaigns Manager Angela Cartwright.
“We looked at two string cheese products popular in the playground and found the Mondelez product scored a paltry two stars. In contrast, Bega’s Stringers got a whopping four and a half stars.
“CHOICE calculated star ratings for another lunchbox favourite, peanut butter, which you might assume wouldn’t vary too much. However, we found a real star in Sanitarium’s natural peanut butter which scored five stars, well ahead of Mondelez’s Kraft peanut butter with 3 stars.”
“Perhaps the biggest surprise for us was the cracker star-off, with Mondelez-owned Ritz bottoming out at half a star while Arnotts’ Jatz managed 2 stars.”
“CHOICE decided to take a closer look at Mondelez after the company attempted to discredit the Health Star Rating Scheme, claiming the scheme was ‘ill-founded, unscientific and confusing’, when in fact it was considerably informed by market research showing strong support for it.
“By providing a star rating, the new scheme will give consumers information they can use to make healthier choices at-a-glance. CHOICE questions whether the real reason Mondelez doesn’t like the system is that it would show consumers that some of their products are less healthy than the alternatives?
“CHOICE knows there are companies out there that want to roll out the Health Star Rating Scheme and it’s time for the food industry to get behind this system.
“Our health star snapshot shows that it is possible to have considerably healthier versions of the same type of product. CHOICE thinks the Scheme will not only give consumers information they can use at-a-glance but spur companies to improve their product offerings, creating a healthier food supply in the long term.”