Coconut water manufacturer admits making misleading claims
Australian coconut water manufacturer H2Coco Pty Ltd has acknowledged it made potentially misleading claims about the Company’s coconut water product, after Consumer Affairs Victoria asked H2Coco to substantiate those claims.
This is the first time Consumer Affairs Victoria has taken action of this kind against a food manufacturer. However, credence claims have been a particular focus of the national body the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2014.
H2Coco Pty Ltd and company director David Freeman have acknowledged making potentially misleading claims about the company’s coconut water. In February 2014, Consumer Affairs Victoria asked the Company and Mr Freeman to substantiate their claims about H2Coco water in advertising and promotional materials. They claimed that the water ‘contains a complex blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, health enhancing growth hormones and other phytonutrients’.
After reviewing information provided by H2Coco, the Director of Consumer Affairs considered that this representation was false or misleading.
Mr Freeman, personally and on behalf of the company, acknowledged that they may have unintentionally contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misrepresenting that H2Coco coconut water had a particular composition, when they were unable to substantiate this claim.
In an enforceable undertaking to the director, they agreed to ensure that:
- all claims and representations about their products are correct, factual and able to be substantiated upon demand, before publication. They will implement and maintain a compliance, education and training program to ensure they meet ACL requirements
- ensure that all sales staff are trained on the true composition of the products manufactured and supplied by H2Coco.
Mr Freeman also agreed to pay $2000 to the Director, on behalf of the Victorian Consumer Law Fund. The undertaking applies for three years or until the company has complied with all its obligations.