The Government wants your opinion of sugar labelling

You can now have your say on the way we see how much sugar is in our food.

Trans-Tasman consultation on sugar labelling has begun after a ministerial forum on food regulation.

Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor says it's an important conversation to have.

"I hope it does and endorse a level of labelling so people better understand what they're consuming," he told Newshub.

"It might then encourage producers of food to cut back on sugar. We'd all be better off if there was a lower level of sugar intake across our whole country."

The consultation runs until September, and Mr O'Connor says change needs to happen sooner rather than later.

"Without improvement, without cutbacks we're going to face an ever-increasing cost in our health system through diabetes, through obesity. Intake of sugar is one of those factors affecting the situation."

New Zealand exports $3.6 billion worth of food to Australia each year and imports $1.8 billion, says Mr O'Connor so it "makes sense to have the same rules for food labelling across both countries".

New Zealand is one of the top few countries in the world for obesity.

The existing health star labelling system is currently being studied by researchers at the University of Auckland to test whether it's had an impact on what people buy and what manufacturers put in their products.

"With this research, we'll be able to inform the debate very effectively," study leader Prof Cliona Ni Mhurchu told NZME in June.

While studies have shown sugar taxes cut consumption of nutrition-free products like soft drinks, both the previous National-led Government and the current Labour-NZ First coalition ruled that out.