Bad Taste Food Awards: Consumer NZ calls out our food companies over 'misleading' claims

New Zealand food companies have been weighed and measured as part of Consumer NZ's annual Bad Taste Food Awards. 

Consumer NZ, a non-profit organisation which product tests, investigates consumer issues and campaigns to improve consumer rights, runs the competition as a way of shedding light on crafty labelling.

Chief executive Sue Chetwin says this year's awards included foods promoted as healthier choices, "even though they contained spoonsful of sugar".

Products promoting their fruit and vege content, when they actually had little of it, and products making meaningless animal welfare claims, have been called out. 

The recipients of this year's Consumer NZ Bad Taste Food Awards are:

Nestle Nesquik: Consumer NZ  says Nestle's cereal touts its "made with whole grain wheat and corn", is "a source of fibre", has "no artificial colours or flavours" and contains zinc, calcium, niacin and iron to help kids normal growth and development. Despite these claims, this cereal is 30 percent sugar, Ms Chetwin said.

Nature Valley Crunchy Oats & Honey snack bars: Marketed as an "excellent source of whole grain", "lactose free" and "packed with natural whole grain oats and real honey", making them the perfect on-the-go snack. But, Ms Chetwin says, sugar is the second largest ingredient in these snack bars, with 12g (three teaspoons) in each serving. 

Simply Squeezed Super Juice Warrior: The label claims this juice is a "good source of vitamin C for immune system support" and has no added colours or flavours. But, a 250ml glass of the juice has 29.2g (seven teaspoons) of sugar.

E2: Marketed as a fruit-flavoured drink "combined with vitamins and minerals to give consumers a delicious fruity blast", a single-serve 800ml bottle of E2 has nearly 20 teaspoons of sugar.

Nutri-Grain TO GO Protein Squeezer: Kelloggs' Nutri-Grain plastic-packaged squeezers are promoted as "perfect for young New Zealanders on the go", with protein to help them stay fuller for longer. But read the ingredients list and you'll find sugar near the top, says Ms Chetwin.

Baby Mum-Mum First Rice Rusks: These rice rusks say they contain kale, spinach, carrot and cabbage, as well as being "all natural". With pictures of veges on the front of the pack, the ingredient list reveals these rice rusks contain only 1.36 percent of vegetables.

Bounce Cacao Mint Protein Energy Ball: The pack claims these energy balls are "nutritious", "balanced", "gluten free", "a wholefood blend of organic cacao, mint and seeds" with "no refined sugar". However, rice syrup and grape juice have been added for sweetness. Each 42g ball is 22.8 percent sugar.

Fresh ‘n Fruity Berries Galore yoghurt: After milk, sugar is the second largest ingredient in four of the six pots in Fresh ‘n Fruity Berries Galore yoghurt. The “berry combo” pots contain just 3.5 percent berries, while the "berries and cherries" pots have 3.5 percent of just the one berry (raspberry) and only one percent cherry. Only the "simply strawberry" pots have more (nine percent).

Tegel, Ingham, Pams "cage free" chicken: "Cage free" claims on your chicken might sound reassuring, Ms Chetwin said. But, these can mislead shoppers. Cage free doesn’t mean free range, she says. "The chooks don't leave the shed."

High-fibre food. Source: Breakfast