The Heart Mark logo takes the guess work out of choosing food products and consumers do not need to read complicated food labels. Although price, quality and taste will always be factors influencing what you buy, so too is making sure you choose the healthier option among all the products on the shelf.
Heart Mark works with food manufacturers to make foods healthier. This means you don’t have to be a nutrition expert or spend hours reading labels – just look out for the Heart Mark, and keep making healthier choices part of your life.
The Heart Mark is not a diet. It’s a standard – a guaranteed way to buy food lower in salt, lower in sugar, lower in saturated fats, and higher in fibre. This makes it the best choice for you and your family and the smartest way to keep a healthy and balanced diet. Remember, eating healthy goes hand in hand with exercise and also the way in which we cook our food.
The Heart Mark endorsement programme is part of ongoing efforts by the HSFSA to reduce the number of deaths in South Africa from preventable heart disease and stroke. The endorsement programme forms part of a health enabling environment offering you a tool which makes choosing healthier foods easier.
With around 450 different Heart Mark products to choose from across 39 food categories, you’ll find Heart mark choices in most of the foods you usually buy.
Foods have to earn the Heart Mark. The Heart Mark may appear on products only after they have gone through a strict process which includes laboratory tests to measure levels of saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, added sugar and fibre content. If the product does not meet certain criteria (e.g. the sodium salt level is too high), this will be discussed with the manufacturer and sometimes products will be reformulated.
Heart Mark can be used alongside healthy eating guidelines. Always discuss what’s right for you with your doctor or health practitioner, especially if you have a heart condition. Read more about healthy living.
Keep in mind that while a product may have the Heart Mark, it may be something you will want to eat occasionally. Most fresh fruit and vegetables are eligible for the Heart Mark even though they might not carry the logo on packaging.
The Heart Mark is earned, never bought. Foods are independently tested and if a product fails to meet the standards, it will not enter the Heart Mark Program.
Food companies do pay a licence fee once they are approved to enter the program. The fees fund the team who develop the standards, as well as nutrition research conducted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. We’re a charity and not government funded. The Heart Mark Program runs on a cost-recovery basis.
On your next visit to your local supermarket carry your very own customised Heart Mark shopping list.