Products that claim to be healthy contain over 60% sugar, alleges the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
The ACCC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the Australian arm of the food company Heinz, alleging it has made false and misleading representations about its Little Kids Shredz products for one-to-three year olds.
It alleges Heinz is marketing these products as healthy options for young children when they are not, and in doing so has contravened Australian Consumer Law.
While the products’ packaging features images of fresh fruit and vegetables along with statements such as “99% fruit and veg” and “nutritious food”, the ACCC says the products actually contain over 60% sugar – higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables.
“For example, an apple contains approximately 10% sugar,” says ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
“We also allege that rather than encouraging children to develop a taste for nutritious food, these Heinz Shredz products are likely to inhibit the development of a child’s taste for natural fruit and vegetables, and encourage a child to become accustomed to, and develop a preference for, sweet tastes,” says Sims.
The ACCC’s action follows a complaint by the Obesity Policy Coalition about food products for toddlers that make fruit and vegetable claims, but are predominantly made from fruit juice concentrate and pastes.
Heinz’s Shredz product range includes three varieties and has been available in major supermarkets nationally since August 2013.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective notices and costs.