Baby biscuits with one-quarter sugar voted 2017's most misleading product

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Baby biscuits with one-quarter sugar voted 2017's most misleading product

Related tags Nutrition

The 73,000 votes are in: German manufacturer Alete’s biscuits, which it markets as ‘suitable for babies’ despite containing 25% sugar, have been voted 2017’s most misleading product.

Organised each year by different branches of industry watchdog campaign group Foodwatch, which has operations in Germany, France and the Netherlands, the awards aim to draw attention to what it says are legal yet misleading marketing and labelling practices.

Alete, which used to be part of Nestle, fought off competition from four other nominations to secure first prize after receiving half of the 73,000 votes.

© Foodwatch

According to the product packaging, the biscuits are suitable for babies from the age of eight months.

“Although Alete promises on its homepage [that] its products are ‘tailored to the nutritional needs’ of babies and toddlers and parents should “not worry about the diet’, the baby food manufacturer continues to be particularly brazen over relevant nutritional recommendations with its range,”​ Foodwatch said.

Alete said the Kinderkeks were in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations on sugar intake. According to Foodwatch, these calculations were based on recommended levels for adults and children, not babies.

Foodwatch said that around 30% of Alete’s products, including yoghurt, porridge and drinking meals contain around 30 % sugar, which it dubs “irresponsible​”.

Claim removed and product improved

Alete, however, called Foodwatch's prize "improper and unjustifiable​".

It said that Kinderkeks were fully compliant with all legal requirements and that the on-pack 'suitable for babies' claim related to the shape of the biscuits, which was chosen so that babies from eight months of age and above can pick them up.

"However, the claim 'suitable for babies' is not important to us. We will revise our label and remove the claim​," it said.

"The ingredient sugar as well as the sugar content are clearly indicated on the packaging. Additionally, we provide guidance on the correct usage of the product, for example regarding the portion size and the importance of thorough dental care. Parents thus receive comprehensive information​," it added.

The company also said it was "already working on an improved recipe of the Kinderkeks​" although it could not provide more information.

Other nominees included​ a cooking oil by Unilever, a superfood breakfast cereal by Kellogg and canned oxtail soup which does not contain any oxtail.

In the past, Golden Egg winners have changed their packaging. Dutch retailer Albert Heijn was nominated in 2015 for a pack of cranberries marketed as being a healthy superfood despite containing 68% added sugar.

It promised to reduce the sugar content following the award.

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