Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Food companies wouldn’t be “conning” well-meaning parents, would they?

CHILDREN are being conned by food companies who are making fatty and sugary foods appear to be healthy, a study suggests.

Some of Australia’s most popular brands, including Kellogg’s and Nestle, have been accused of making food that appeals to children look healthier than it actually is, the Flinders University study shows.

Researchers, led by lecturer Kaye Mehte, found 157 products on a major supermarket chain’s shelves with packaging designed to appeal to children through cartoons, competitions and give-aways.

More than three-quarters of these products were deemed to be unhealthy, primarily because they are high in fat and sugar.

But more than half of them had prominent nutrition claims on the packaging, boasting that the product is, for example, “99 per cent fat free”, “high in calcium” or has “no artificial colours”, they found.

“This has the potential to mislead and confuse children as well as parents who would be more inclined to purchase products carrying claims about health and nutrition,” Dr Mehte said.

Jane Martin, executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition said using the techniques to attract children to unhealthy food was “simply unethical”.

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