The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has successfully concluded proceedings against H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd (Heinz) in relation to their ‘Little Kids Shredz’ toddler food.
The proceedings surrounded Heinz product labelling, which the ACCC alleged misled consumers by representing that the products were nutritious and healthy for young children. The labelling included pictures of fruit and vegetables as well as the following statements:
- ‘99% fruit and veg’
- ‘our range of snacks and meals encourages your toddler to independently discover the delicious taste of nutritious food’
Although the representations on the labelling were objectively accurate, the Federal Court still found that they were misleading because the products were high in sugar (higher than natural fruit and vegetables) and therefore not nutritious and healthy for young children.
The judgment may have wider implications for the food industry, particularly brands attempting to differentiate their products by appealing to health, organic and wholefood markets.