Australia’s Federal Court has found that Kraft Heinz subsidiary H. J. Heinz Company Australia made a misleading health claim that its Little Kids Shredz products were beneficial for young children.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleged that images and statements on Shredz products represented to consumers that they were a healthy and nutritious food for young children, when this was not the case.
The court found that Heinz had represented that its Shredz products were beneficial to the health of children aged between one and three years, when this was not the case.
Proceedings ruled that Heinz nutritionists ought to have known that a representation that a product containing approximately two-thirds sugar was beneficial to health of children was misleading.
ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said: “We welcome the court’s decision today which shows that businesses that make false or misleading claims about the health benefits of products face serious consequences.
“We were particularly concerned by Heinz’s conduct because the Shredz products were marketed as being beneficial for young children.
“Heinz’s Shredz products consisted of over 60% sugar, significantly higher than that of natural fruit and vegetables. An apple in comparison contains around 10% sugar.”
The ACCC’s action followed 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.
The Shredz product range included three varieties: peach apple and veg, berries apple and veg, and strawberry and apple with chia seeds, which were available in Australia from 2013 until May 2016. The products are no longer on sale.
A hearing on penalties and other orders sought by the ACCC will be held on a date to be fixed by the court.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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