Consumer NZ has announced the “winners” of its inaugural Bad Taste Food Awards.
Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the awards were launched to call out food marketers’ claims that represent products as being healthier choices than they really are.
Ms Chetwin said the awards received more than 200 nominations from consumers. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain was a standout among this year’s winners, receiving the most nominations (63).
“What riled people was its promotion as ‘iron man food’, ‘a source of protein and fibre’ and ‘fuel and energy for active teens’. What it actually is, is more than a quarter sugar,” Ms Chetwin said.
Nestlé’s Milo was another popular nominee and winner.
“The product’s packaging boasts a four-and-a-half star health rating. But Nestlé calculated the rating based on mixing the powder with trim milk. If you rate the powder itself, Milo gets a miserable one-and-a-half stars.”
The full list of this year’s Bad Taste Food Award winners is:
Heinz Little Kids Fruit and Veg Shredz: boxes of these Kiwi-made snacks, aimed at toddlers, are emblazoned with images of fresh produce and the words “99% fruit and veg”. But they’re also nearly 70% sugar. In comparison, an apple has about 10% sugar.
Pams Strawberry and Blackcurrant Flavoured Superfruit Muesli Bars: despite the images of succulent fruits on the box, the fruit content of these bars is limited to 4% strawberry pieces (containing 1% strawberry puree) and 1% blackcurrant juice. Superfruity? Not so much.
Gatorade and Powerade: they’re touted as the go-to drinks for sports people serious about their performance, but the drinks contain a sizeable sugar hit. There are 15 teaspoons of sugar in a litre bottle of Gatorade Orange Ice and 11 teaspoons in a 750ml bottle of Powerade ION4 Mountain Blast.
Homebrand Fruity Rings: with 30% more sugar than they had in 2008, the cereal packed the biggest sugar spike in our 2016 survey of children’s cereals. Kellogg’s Coco Pops Chex and Crispix Honey also deserve dishonourable mentions. Both have 20% more sugar than they did previously.
Almond milk: promoted with claims for numerous benefits, some almond milk brands don’t actually contain that many almonds. Blue Diamond Almonds boasts its Almond Breeze product is 98% fat-free. But it’s also 98% almond-free.
Wattie’s 99% Fat Free Creamed Rice: it’s the low-fat version of Wattie’s Original Creamed Rice, but while there’s less fat in the lite version, there’s also an extra teaspoon of sugar (plus some) in every 210g serve.
OVI Hydration: it’s a fruit drink marketed as containing “antioxidants from green tea”. But the tea extract (made up of green and oolong tea) is only 0.05% of the drink. OVI also contains fruit juice, fructose and honey, which contribute 20g of sugar in each bottle.
Ms Chetwin said consumer laws are designed to prevent companies misleading consumers or creating a false impression about the goods they sell. “But food marketers continue to push the boundaries. Today, we’re calling out their claims.”
More information can be found in our full report.