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Heart Foundation Tick
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Heart Foundation Tick

The Tick Program has made a substantial contribution to the health of Australians over the past 26 years.

After 26 years as an industry leader, driving healthier food choices and reformulation in Australia, the National Heart Foundation has decided to retire the Tick Program. The Tick Program commenced in 1989 when there was little to guide healthier food choices for shoppers.

It was a bold public health program that involved working with food manufacturers, and was based on a simple, easily recognised logo on food packaging highlighting healthier choices compared to similar foods.

The Tick Program has made a substantial contribution to the health of Australians over the past 26 years. The Tick:
  • guided healthier food choices by shoppers. Up to 2.8 million Australians have looked for the Tick every day when shopping for food; and
  • encouraged food manufacturers to make their products healthier (food reformulation) and innovate healthier products across a wide range of food categories.
The success of Tick in giving people the information they need to make healthier food choices has raised the level of community awareness and debate around food.

This shift has driven food manufacturers to change their products to meet consumer expectations for healthier food.  Now that Nutrient Information Panels are mandatory, and front of pack labelling is firmly established on the food agenda, the Heart Foundation can retire the Tick to focus on its next innovations that will improve the cardiovascular health of all Australians.

You may still see the Tick going into late 2018 as we work with our licensees to have the trademark removed as timely as possible.

Through the Tick Program, the Heart Foundation provided healthier choices for Australians by challenging food companies to improve the foods we eat every day. Over the years, we’ve driven significant change. 

Tick achievements

A year after Tick’s launch in 1989, 31 companies had come on board, earning the Tick for 140 products. Today more than 2,000 products carry the Tick across 80 food categories.

Our research shows the Tick is the most recognised logo on food in Australia. Around 2.8 million Australians look for the Tick everyday when they shop for food. 

Through the Tick Program, the Heart Foundation provides healthier choices for Australians by challenging food companies to improve the foods we eat every day. Over the years, we’ve driven significant change. Here are some other examples of what we’ve achieved.

Leading the way on nutrition information panels

With the introduction of the Tick in 1989, all foods with the Tick were required to include a nutritional information panel on packaging. This led the way to nutrition information panels becoming mandatory with the update to the Food Standards Code – Australia’s food requirements. That was 13 years before Food Standards Australia New Zealand made them mandatory in 2001.

Healthier margarines

In 1994, the Heart Foundation called on companies and regulators to reduce trans fats.

By 1996, the Tick Program introduced saturated and trans fats limits for margarine spreads. The Heart Foundation

Tick worked with companies to adapt their processes and encouraged them to invest in the equipment needed to introduce margarines with less than 1% trans fat.

By 2005, all spreads with the Tick were virtually trans fat free.

Taking tonnes of salt out of Australians’ diets

In 1997, Kellogg’s started reformulating 12 breakfast cereals to reduce sodium content. As a result, 235 tonnes of salt were removed annually from Australian cereals.

Between 2003 and 2006 we reduced salt levels across 36 of the 54 Tick food product categories.

Approximately 16 tonnes of salt was removed from the food supply from the reformulation of pasta sauce alone in 2013.

Getting tougher on kilojoules

With obesity levels rising, the Tick Program introduced energy (kilojoules) criteria in some food categories to encourage reducing the serving size of snacks between 2003 and 2006.

The energy criterion was introduced for breakfast cereals in 2004, dairy foods in 2005, and fruit spreads in 2007 and continues to be an important nutrient today.

Making healthier foods more affordable

The Tick makes healthier food choices more affordable by improving the nutrition of private label foods. Due to ALDI’s reformulation and innovation program to meet the Tick’s nutritional standards, 92% of ALDI’s breads, rolls and English muffins now have less salt, and over 50% have met Tick’s even higher standards for reduced salt and saturated fat and increased fibre. A range of Coles own branded products joined the Tick Program in 2012 with a range of healthier choices including low fat milk.

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