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Nestle wins the food prize no one wants

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First prize went to Nestle for its sugary baby food. Photo: Foodwatch
11:22 CEST+02:00
A food watchdog presented Nestle with a prize to avoid on Wednesday for the cheekiest false advertising of the year. The runner-up was a chicken soup with no chicken in a vote of almost 160,000 Germans.

Nestle took the title for its 'Alete' liquid meal for babies aged ten months and over.

It claims the baby food is rich in calcium and vitamin D and it has pictures of corn ears on the packaging. But it is packed with sugar.

Foodwatch presented Nestle with the golden cream puff award (Windbeutel) which has a double meaning of windbag in German.

The group said: “These high calorie liquid meals lead to overfeeding and tooth decay. Doctors have been warning against them for a long time.”

Foodwatch noted that the nutrition experts of the German Child and Youth Medicine Society (DGKJ) have been demanding the drinks' withdrawal from the market since 2007, as they are “irresponsible and endanger children's health”.

Nestle markets the Alete drink as a healthy feeding option and said it is rich in Omega 3. The company also said it was a good feeding option for parents on the move.

Of the 158,000 people who voted on the Golden Creme Puff website, 45.8 percent chose the baby drink from among the five candidates selected by Foodwatch.

Show me the chicken

Second place went to a chicken soup from Knorr, owned by Unilever, which does not contain any chicken meat.

Foodwatch also noted that despite the claims on the packaging that the soup is free from additives, it contains a flavour enhancer.

The company refused to respond to Foodwatch's questions about the product as they are currently on opposite sides of a court case.

Humour needed

And in third place was Coca-Cola's Glaceau Vitaminwater, which Foodwatch called “cheap water pepped up with flavourings, colourings and added vitamins,” making it “a typical 'functional food' product invented to suck money out of consumers' pockets”.

A Coca-Cola representative was evasive when challenged to back up the claims made on the Vitaminwater website for the different varieties, from the “morning pick-me-up” of the 'Restore' variety and the “extra boost” of 'Power-C'.

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“We are firmly convinced that consumers understand this correctly [as humour],” the Coca-Cola representative said in an email to Foodwatch, adding that the drinks maker respects European regulations about health claims for food products.

Coca-Cola recently settled class-action lawsuits brought against it by US consumers in Ohio, Florida, Illinois and the Virgin Islands over Vitaminwater.

The company paid their legal fees and agreed to alter its labels to remove health claims and add more prominent calorie counts.

In fourth place on Foodwatch's list were Mondelez Belvita 'breakfast biscuits', which it said were not a healthy breakfast as the packaging suggested but a sugary sweet.

Fifth went to Coop's “Our North” organic apple juice, which was not in fact made only from north German apples despite being advertised as "from the region".

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