Heinz Threatened With $10 Million Fine For Misleading Marketing

By August 10, 2018

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission calls for a $10 million fine for Heinz for marketing of “99 per cent” fruit snacks when the product contains two-thirds sugar and was good for children.

Little Kids Shredz, is dehydrated fruits and vegetables made from “99 per cent” fruit and vegetable ingredients, no preservatives or artificial flavours but it contains two-thirds of sugar.

The company has described such penalty as oppressive suggesting $400,000 would be the more appropriate amount.

In a hearing in the Federal Court in Adelaide, counsel for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said the company nutritionist representing the “Little Kid’s Shredz” as beneficial for children should have known it was misleading.

Tom Duggan, acting for the ACCC, told the court the penalty imposed on Heinz had to be sufficient to act as a deterrent against similar conduct by the company and others operating in the food industry.

He argued about the company’s conduct in representations on the packaging of its Little Kids Shredz was 'egregious' because of the potential implications for the diet and oral health of young children and involved both 'willful blindness' and 'recklessness'.

In his judgment in March, Justice Richard White ruled the prominent statements on the packaging, that the Shredz snacks comprised 99 per cent fruit and vegetables together with the pictures of the fruit and vegetables, conjured impressions of nutritiousness and health.

"I am satisfied that each of the Heinz nutritionists ought to have known that a representation that a product containing approximately two-thirds sugar was beneficial to the health of children aged one to three years was misleading," he said.

Almost 1 million products were sold out before it is pulled back from stores in May 2016.

Reference:
Oshea, Monica "Heinz Threatened With $10 MILLION Fine", Daily Mail Australia, 1 August 2018