Granola bars, sugary vitamin water and Lewis Road’s $ 5 collagen milk are among the food products that claim to be healthier than they actually are, Consumer NZ says.
The consumer watchdog’s annual Bad Taste Food awards on Monday highlighted brands promoting their products as better choices than they actually are.
Jon Duffy, CEO of Consumer NZ, said this year’s winners included products promoted as “97 percent fat-free” or chock-full of “whole grain” products.
“But if you look at the back of the pack, you can see they are full of sugar or sodium,” said Duffy.
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“We also found sugary products that made a host of other claims, including ‘no artificial colors or flavors’ or touting their vitamin and mineral content.”
Prices have been running since 2016.
Nestle Milo Protein Clusters: Nestle claimed that its grain contained whole grains, “fiber,” “8 vitamins and minerals” and would “provide your child with long-lasting, low-GI energy to keep them going longer.” But Consumer NZ research found the grain also contained 26.5 percent sugar.
Uncle Toby’s Plus Protein Peach, Sultanas & Oat Clusters: Uncle Toby’s said the grain provided “protein” and “fiber from whole grains to support healthy digestion.” But it also contained 22 percent sugar, the second-largest ingredient after wheat and oats. Sweetness from fruit puree, golden syrup and honey was also added.
Fun And Natural Probiotic Oat Bars: The company claimed its cranberry and coconut bars were the “right way” to “energize your day.” It said these bars were a “good source of fiber” with no “artificial colors or flavors.” But each bar contained 22 percent sugar or two teaspoons.
OSM Almond with Vanilla Bites: OSM promoted its bars as “nutritionally balanced,” a source of protein, fiber, 10 vitamins and six minerals. But the recommended serving contained 30 g of sugar or seven teaspoons.
Glaceau Vitamin Water: The vitamin water that claimed “strength,” “iron,” and low calories in his dragon fruit-flavored Glaceau Vitamin Water also contained 22 g of sugar. A 500 ml bottle contained five teaspoons.
A spokesman for Coca Cola, the owner of Glaceau, said the brand claims of “strength, iron and low calorie” were substantiated and met “all the conditions regulated” under the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.
Edmonds 97 Percent Fat-Free Vanilla Cake: More than half (55 percent) of Edmonds ’97 percent fat-free “cake mix with no” artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives “was sugar. There was more sugar than flour in the cake mix, Consumer said.
Woolworths Chocolate Flavored Cream Rice: This creamy rice also bore the “97 percent fat free” claim and had a 3.5 star health rating. But while it was low in fat, it had five teaspoons of sugar in each serving.
Beehive Shaved Champagne Ham: While Beehive’s ham claimed to be “97 percent fat-free,” “gluten-free,” “soy-free,” and “MSG-free,” a look at the fine print showed it was also high in sodium: 1,200 mg per 100 g.
Pams Fruit Zoo Vines: These “gluten, dairy, and nut free” fruit sticks claimed to be made from “65 percent fruit juice,” with no artificial colors and flavors, but were made from 55 percent sugar. Along with reconstituted fruit juice, the vines contain sugar and corn syrup, adding to their sweetness.
A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs, the owner of Pams, said many of the brand’s products were labeled with the health star rating “which gives a clear indication of how they fit into a healthy and balanced diet.”
“Pams Fruit Zoo Vines have a Health Star Rating of two, indicating that they are intended as a ‘sometimes’ treat.”
Lewis Road Creamery Collagen Milk: Lewis Road released its collagen-infused milk this year, claiming that collagen “has been scientifically shown to regenerate articular cartilage.” But the evidence for collagen supplementation was far from compelling, Duffy said.
In addition, the company’s claims were not approved under the Food Standards Code. Lewis Road dropped the claims when we reported it. “