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Video: 'It is worrying' – Consumer NZ exposes manufacturers making 'healthy' food claims

A quick trip to the supermarket may leave you convinced that every product is somehow good for you.

However, there are some manufacturers who are making false health claims, according to a consumer watchdog. 

Some of those manufacturers have been outed by Consumer NZ’s "Bad Taste Food Awards".

CEO of Consumer NZ Sue Chetwin said at the top of the list were Pump flavoured waters containing "four or five teaspoons of sugars."

Among the other products were marshmallows, Up & Go, muesli bars, Lipton Ice Tea and gourmet salts.

Ms Chetwin said the awards are to highlight food companies who market their products as being healthier than they actually are.

She said there the claims that food manufacturers can make is "worrying," and they are "pushing the boundaries of what they can really say."

"We show that manufacturers are making these health claims but they are not as healthy as they say they are."

Head of External Relations for Foodstuffs Antoinette Laird said Pams Toasted Muesli, which was one of the products listed in the awards, had last been adjusted in 2013. 

She said Foodstuffs acknowledge the percentage of sugar increased from 10.5 grams per serving in 2013 to 15.2 grams per serving in 2017.

The rise in sugar is due to dried fruit, according to Ms Laird.

"At the time the product was reformulated the team also increased the dietary fibre by 52 per cent per average serving," she said. 

Ms Chetwin said Consumer NZ would like to see a "crackdown" on he claims that manufacturers make.

"We are going to continue to keep complaining to the regulators."

Ms Chetwin said Consumer NZ also aims to broaden the range of products that have the "Health Tick" on them.

Ms Laird said Pams Toasted Muesli is "currently going through a reformulation process." 

"Once complete, the new packaging will include the Health Star Rating which is the Government’s system that helps consumers understand the nutritional content of the products they purchase."

Countdown said its muesli, which is also listed, is undergoing a reformulation process shortly.

There was no added sugar in the product - it cames from the honey toasted oats and dried fruit. 

Consumer NZ CEO Sue Chetwin said some companies are pushing the boundaries of what they can say. Source: Breakfast