Over 34 percent of the 130,000 people who voted in this year's Goldene Windbeutel awards decided that baby food producer Hipp deserved this year's accolade – for marketing a tea containing two and a half lumps of sugar per 200ml at young children.
Foodwatch, who run the bogey prize, called Hipp irresponsible in the announcement on Tuesday. “Telling parents to give such a product to their children does not fit the image they want to project,” said Foodwatch employee Oliver Huizinga.
Netto's Viva Vital low-fat minced meat - which contains just 30 percent meat – came in second place with 27.5 percent of the votes. The supposedly cholesterol-reducing, unscientifically-proven margarine Becel Pro-Activ, came third with 22.2 percent of the votes.
Radeberger's Clausthaler Classic, an “alcohol-free” beer which contains 0.45 percent alcohol was fourth, with just over 10 percent of voters finding it the most scandalous.
Hipp, despite rejecting the award, said on Tuesday that they would be pulling their fruity tea range from the shelves and replacing them by the end of the year.
“Only products that are actually suitable for children should be advertised for children,” said Thilo Bode, head of Foodwatch.
Bode added that the law needs to be changed to make misleading labels on food illegal, as “there is a lack of transparency in food production, such as information on where the ingredients come from, additives, treatment of animals and genetic modification,” he said.
Health journal PloS Medicine urged food companies this week to be more responsible about what they are putting in their products.
Childhood obesity has become a fast-growing problem, and the journal cites sugary drinks as one of the main contributing factors. Children in the US more than doubled their calorie intake between 1977 and 2004, with 13 percent of daily calorie intake coming from sweet drinks.
A spokeswoman from the German part of Coca-Cola's “Live Positively” campaign contradicted concern expressed in the journal, saying that soft drinks were fine if they were part of a balanced diet with regular exercise.