Consumer NZ’s Bad Taste Food Awards are disappointing and a sham, says FGC.

Katherine Rich says some of the ‘winners’ are the very products Consumer NZ encouraged people to vote for.

“They said the motivation behind the awards was to “name and shame”, and it’s clear they had no purpose other than to attack food manufacturers. The language of the whole campaign spoke volumes. Phrases like “we’re on a mission to expose” food companies would lead most reasonable people to conclude that the real purpose behind these awards is activism not advocacy.

“It shows how far Consumer NZ has come, from being a fair and objective consumer advocacy voice to being an activist group that doesn’t fairly reflect New Zealand food law and the Fair Trading Act.

“In their claims around the awards they continue to promote the idea that the sugar content of products is hidden, when in fact it’s on food and beverage labels in at least two places, and this is required by food law which we share with Australia.

“Consumer NZ would benefit from getting advice from someone with expertise in nutrition.

“For example, their criticism of Anchor Protein+ doesn’t make sense. Anchor’s product description is correct – milk and protein are important to good health.

“And they’ve picked on sugar in peach ice tea. I don’t know the product specifically, but I hope Consumer understands that fruit contains sugar. It’s the same with their criticism of muesli – a significant amount of sugar in muesli comes from fruit.

“For some reason, they’ve made licorice allsorts the poster-child for their campaign. We’ve got a few licorice allsorts manufacturers left and they are proud businesses that provide many jobs in Oamaru, Levin, and Palmerston North.

“Food and beverage manufacturers continue to put a huge amount of effort and money into reformulating products with less sugar, fat and salt to meet consumer preferences, and I worry that these unfair attacks on food makers potentially undermine consumers’ trust in food rules.”