Two voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labels (FOPNL) are present in Australia: the government-led Health Star Ratings (HSR) and food industry-led Daily Intake Guide (DIG). Australia's two largest supermarkets are key supporters of HSR, pledging uptake on all supermarket own brand foods (SOBF). This study aimed to examine prevalence of FOPNL on SOBF, and alignment with patterns of nutritional quality. Photographic audits of all SOBF present in three large supermarkets were conducted in Perth, Western Australia, in 2017. Foods were classified as nutritious or nutrient-poor based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGTHE), NOVA level of food processing, and HSR score. Most (81.5%) SOBF featured FOPNL, with only 55.1% displaying HSR. HSR was present on 69.2% of Coles, 54.0% of Woolworths, and none of IGA SOBF. Half (51.3%) of SOBF were classified as nutritious using the AGTHE, but using NOVA, 56.9% were ultra-processed foods. Nutrient-poor and ultra-processed SOBF were more likely than nutritious foods to include HSR, yet many of these foods achieved HSR scores of 2.5 stars or above, implying they were a healthy choice. Supermarkets have a powerful position in the Australian food system, and they could do more to support healthy food selection through responsible FOPNL.
Keywords: Daily Intake Guide; Health Star Rating; front-of-pack label; nutrition; private label; supermarket; supermarket own brand.