CHOICE attacks snack bars with ‘hidden sugar’
Consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, is criticising some of Australia’s biggest brands saying their snack bars are tricking shoppers into thinking they are healthy when they actually include large amounts of sugar.
After conducting a review of 224 snack bars, CHOICE said the bars often “owe more to chemistry than agriculture” despite sometimes including pictures of fruit on packaging.
CHOICE used the example of Aldi’s private label ‘Hillcrest Chewy Muesli Bars Strawberry and Yoghurt’, criticising it for using a picture of fresh strawberries on its pack even though the product itself just contains “strawberry flavoured fruit pieces” which are made of fruit puree concentrates, flavour and additives.
CHOICE also used the example of Kellogg’s ‘K-Time Twists Raspberry and Apple’ which it says has packaging saying it contains “raspberry and apple fillings”. The filling however contains raspberry juice instead of raspberry and only 2 per cent apple.
Head of Media at CHOICE, Tom Godfrey, said when it comes to snack bars, relying on marketing messages and brand names is no recipe for finding real fruit in processed foods.
“The fruit content of some products is farcical,” Godfrey said.
“If you’re putting your kid’s lunchbox together you’d be far better off with fresh fruit and some wholegrain crackers.”
The CHOICE investigation follows on from last week’s decision by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) to fine Smith’s and Unilever for misleading ‘school canteen approved’ food labelling.
Aldi defends its yoghurt muesli bar snack
Responding to CHOICE’s criticism, an Aldi spokesperson said they believed the Hillcrest Yoghurt Muesli Bars have a place in a healthy diet when included as an occasional snack in the recommended serving size.
“We are proud of our truthful and transparent on-pack labeling across all our products and we encourage our consumers to look at the nutritionals and ingredients stated on our product’s packaging to guide them in making informed purchasing decisions,” the spokesperson said.
Kellogg’s says CHOICE criticism relates to superseded product packaging
A spokesperson for Kellogg’s Australia said the criticism from CHOICE was made in regards to outdated packaging.
“We’re committed to clear and transparent labelling for all of our products, including the phased rollout of Health Star Ratings on all of our snacks,” the spokesperson said.
“We’ve also updated the packaging for K-Time Twists earlier this year; ‘Raspberry and Apple Flavour’ is clearly shown on front of pack and inclusion of fruit on the imagery is intended to represent the flavours of the product. K-Time Twists are a baked snack for adults and they’re not marketed to kids for the lunchbox occasion. All of the nutrition and health star information for our foods can be found on the Kellogg website and if consumers have any questions about Kellogg, we’d love for them to visit us at www.openforbreakfast.com.au.”