Food manufacturer Heinz has been found guilty by Australia’s Federal Court over a misleading health claim for its Little Kids Shredz.
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Made in New Zealand, Little Kids Shredz were sold on both sides of the Tasman. In 2016, the product won one of our Bad Taste Food Awards. Product packaging promoted the jube-like snacks as “99% fruit and veg” and a nutritious choice for young kids. But they were more than 60% sugar.
In its judgement, the court ruled Heinz represented Shredz as beneficial to the health of young children, when this was not the case. It also found Heinz nutritionists should have known it was misleading to claim that a product containing about two-thirds sugar was a healthy choice.
The case was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) following a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition.
“We were particularly concerned by Heinz’ conduct because the Shredz products were marketed as being beneficial for young children,” ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said.
“Heinz’ Shredz products consisted of over 60% sugar, significantly higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables. An apple in comparison contains around 10% sugar,” she said.
We hope the case acts as a warning to other food manufacturers that spruiking sugary products as healthy choices risks breaching fair trading laws and could land them in court.