Ferrero was also recently hit with a punitive consumer class action in the US claiming the company deceptively markets its Nutella hazelnut spread as nutritious despite high levels of saturated fat and processed sugars.
The Germany division of the campaign group Foodwatch revealed in Berlin last Friday that the manufacturer’s Milch-Schnitte brand, which is sold under the slogan “Tastes light. Doesn’t weigh you down. Ideal for in between,” has been given its ‘Golden Windbag’ prize for deceiving shoppers about the product’s sugar and fat content.
The advocates said that an online poll, run from 16 May to 16 June, to determine which of five controversial products were the most ‘deceptive’ showed that 43.5 per cent of the nearly 118 000 consumer participants opted for the Milch-Schnitte brand.
Ferrero’s latest adverts for the bar with cream filling features women’s boxing world champion Susi Kentikian and the extreme climbers Alexander and Thomas Huberbaum.
Anne Markwardt, head of Foodwatch’s campaign for false marketing, accused Ferrero of “deceiving their customers” by implying the snack was sporty and light.
Ferrero told ConfectioneryNews.com: "On no account do we agree with the accusations raised by Foodwatch and will not accept this negative award."
The chocolate maker said it appreciates and takes the opinion of consumers very seriously. “We conduct market surveys on our products and our advertising on a regular basis in order to learn how our consumers rate the quality of our products and the value of our advertising,” a company spokesperson said.
And consumer feedback generated in this way, said Ferrero, does not indicate that they perceive the advertising for Milch-Schnitte to be misleading.
The consumption of a Milch-Schnitte bar in-between meals is 100 per cent compatible with a lifestyle that is well-balanced and takes an active part in sport, said Ferrero. In addition, claims the chocolate maker, a well-balanced lifestyle does “not only depend on nutrition but also on appropriate exercise.”
Yoghurt brand Activia from Danone came in second in the Foodwatch poll, while confectionery manufacturer Storck’s Nimm2 brand was awarded third most ‘misleading’ product.