Heinz drops health claims

Related tags Nutrition

Heinz is dropping its healthy eating logo from cans of baked beans,
spaghetti and soups amid because it believes that the products will
fall foul of health targets being set by the UK government.

The firm is worried that new limits being set by the department of health on the amount of salt, sugar and fat in processed foods will be too high for these products to be accepted. It also believes that the proposed new guidelines may send out mixed messages to consumers.

Michael Mullen, the company's corporate affairs general manager, is quoted in the UK's Times​ as saying that the proposed new law does not take into account the fact that familiar foods such as baked beans have a role to play in a healthy diet.

"Heinz believes that food companies have an important role to play in promoting healthy eating but the new guidelines will disqualify many nourishing and nutritious foods from counting towards 5-a-day,"​ he said.

Heinz is keen to avoid further bad publicity over dubious health claims. Last year the company was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for saying that a 300g can of tomato soup was the equivalent of eating two 'healthy' portions when the government judged it to be the equivalent of only one.

In addition, Heinz's​ healthy eating logo, which features on a range of 50 Heinz products, has never been part of the official government '5-a-day' healthy eating scheme to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables. The firm devised its own logo in alliance with the British Dietetic Association, and some have accused the company of jumping on the government bandwagon.

The government's '5-a-day' logo can be used on canned, dried and frozen fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh and chilled, so long as they do not have added salt, sugar or fat. A portion must contain 80g of fruit or vegetables. Potatoes, rice, pasta, yams and cassava do not count.

Despite the dropping of the healthy eating logo, Heinz says that it remains committed to reducing salt content by 42 per cent in children's brands such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Teletubbies pasta shapes and Spaghetti Hoops. Heinz has a 76.7 per cent British market share for tomato ketchup, 68.2 per cent for baked beans and 61.3 per cent for soups.

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