FoodWatch, an independent, non-profit organization that fights for the right of consumers “to know exactly what they are buying,” has asked Dutch consumers to vote on the most misleading food product of 2015. After receiving over 100 nominations and conducting its own research, seven finalists have been selected.
Voting has been opened for consumers to choose the worst offender, and the winner is to be announced the first week of January 2016. The vote has been called the ‘Golden Egg,’ alluding to companies’ “golden but hollow promises,” FoodWatch campaigner Sjoerd Van de Wouw told FoodNavigator.
Regarding the motive of these efforts, Van de Wouw says, “[Companies] normally change the labelling so it’s not misleading anymore. For us this is important because consumers should have the right to choose what they want to eat. Different people make different choices and that’s fine, as long as consumers are well informed about the product and health implications.”
Among the list of nominees is Dutch retailer Plus’ private label light peanut butter. Fat content for this ‘light’ peanut butter has been cut by 30 percent, however peanuts have been replaced with dried glucose syrup, thus increasing its sugar content by 451 percent. According to FoodWatch, Plus is not the only private label brand to reduce fat content by increasing sugar, citing Jumbo and Delamarkt as examples.
The Netherland’s biggest supermarket chain Albert Heijn has been nominated for cranberries in their private label ‘superfoods.’ A closer look at the ingredient list reveals the cranberries are sweetened with 68 percent pineapple syrup, meaning that more than two-thirds of every bite is sugar.
A complete listing of nominees can be found on FoodNavigator.