Biscuit and snack company Arnott’s have been fined more than $50,000 this week for including misleading information on their Shapes packaging.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) passed on the fine because Arnott’s placed false and misleading information on its packaging about the level of fat contained in the snack, in breach of Australian consumer law.
The packaging said the product contained “75% less saturated fat”, but what it failed to communicate was that that was compared to potato chips that had been cooked in palm oil.
Given that only around 20 per cent of potato chips are actually cooked in palm oil, this gave the ACCC reason for concern, resulting in the fine.
“Businesses must ensure that any comparison claims they make are accurate and based on meaningful comparisons for consumers,” the ACCC said in a statement.
“This is particularly the case regarding claims that involve healthier eating.”
But Arnott’s isn’t the only company which has pulled the wool over their consumers’ eyes. Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, Choice, has created an entire awards system called the Shonky Awards which aims to put the spotlight on brands and products who haven’t been so clear, or so honest, with their claims.
Here are a few brands to look out for:
1. S26 Gold Toddler and Junior milk powder
S26 was on the receiving end of a Shonky Award because of the pressure they put on parents to continue to buy milk powder for children over the age of 1, even though that particular milk formula isn’t necessary for kids in that age group.
2. Peanut butter-flavoured Tim Tams
When a biscuit is said to be peanut butter-flavoured, you’d expect to see some actual peanut butter in there, right? Unfortunately, that’s just not the case for these biscuits, which actually have no traces of peanuts at all. That might be good news for people with nut allergies, but not so good for anyone else.
3. Arnott’s Tiny Teddies
Uh-oh, Arnott’s are at it again. This time they received a Shonky for placing their own health logo on Tiny Teddies. The logo says the snack meets school canteen guidelines. The ACCC said they were slapped with the award for associating a sugary snack with a healthy diet. “We don’t think Arnott’s should be flogging confectionery to kids claiming it’s healthy,” Choice said.
4. Kmart swimmers
It’s not just food and biscuits that get slapped with Shonky Awards, Kmart were also under fire last year for their line of swimwear. It was the disclaimers on the swimwear that was the real cause for concern. It included things like: avoid water unless you want your cossie to go see-through, steer clear of sunscreen because that will ruin the material and don’t even think about getting in a heated pool, because that’s no good for your swimmers either. Basically, you can’t do anything in your swimmers that you originally bought them for.
5. IKEA furniture
Even furniture has been cracked down upon by the consumer watchdog, with home wares giant IKEA even coming under scrutiny. Unfortunately, they were selling plastic couches under the leather section of the website, which was misleading to the public, too. At least we can always rely on the meatballs.