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    Packaged foods to soon have ‘health stars’ to inform buyers about nutrition profile

    Packaged foods to soon have ‘health stars’ to inform buyers about nutrition profile

    Packaged foods to soon have ‘health stars’ to inform buyers about nutrition profile
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    The star rating will be awarded under FSSAI's supervision, will be based on the amount of fats, sugars and salt present in a food item.

    Consumers will soon be able to quickly spot how healthy, or unhealthy, and nutritious their food packet is. Packaged food items will soon bear a ‘health star’ as part of the new system under the directions from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The system will be akin to the one used by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency for measuring the energy efficiency of electrical appliances.

    Packaged foods will display the number of stars, which will indicate how healthy or unhealthy the item is. The rating will be based on the amount of fats, sugar and salt present in the food item.

    Star rating is among the five label types that were being considered to convey the nutritional information in a comprehensible manner. Other options included traffic light signs, nutrition scores and warning symbols.

    "The study has recommended the star rating system based on consumers' ease of understanding," FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal told The Economic Times.

    The study was conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in which over 20,000 individuals participated from major Indian states. The results were revealed on February 22.

    “Among the two, HSR (health star rating) appears most acceptable, outdoing the nutrient specific formats on ease of understanding. HSR finds greater support among the Southern, Central and Western regions of the country,” reads the summary of the survey.

    The importance of the front of pack label (FOPL) has been noted in studies towards better food and consumer choices than the back of pack label (BOPL). Though BOPL contains detailed nutritional information about food items, they are very rarely scanned by most individuals.

    The study highlighted that the easy availability of energy-dense foods has been a leading cause of non-communicable diseases and obesity in India which was the reason why FSSAI began to look for ways to inform consumers about the nutrition profile of foods.

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