A strange question perhaps, especially after my next post as going to be about peanut butter. However, when I was in Føtex yesterday looking for something nice to drink for our Mothers Day breakfast, I saw this product: A mango smoothie from Rynkeby. Full of mangos.
Mango smoothie with 100% fruit. Being a cynic I looked at the back side just to check if this was the case:
They weren’t wrong. It is 100 % fruit but only 18% Mango? This is a mango smoothie right. It’s advertised as a mango smoothie yet the main ingredients are made up of apples and oranges. Considering there is probably a small amount of banana puree in this, there must be around 75% apple and orange juice. I don’t like to complain about something that looks fairly healthy (i.e. no added sugar or flavourings) but I feel a bit deceived by this.
I wrote to Rynkeby with 3 questions:
1. How can you call a drink a Mango smoothie when it is just 18% mangos?
2. Isn’t it better to call it Mango, Apple and Orange smoothie, thereby being more honest?
3, Aren’t there any EU rules for inferring a drink is one thing but containing 82% other stuff.
I received this very nice and very prompt reply;
“Thank you for your inquiry regarding our Mango Smoothie. It is perfectly permissible to highlight a taste of a product; it is often seen in other food categories – eg. Strawberry yogurt, liver paste, shrimp salad and chicken sausage etc.
And yes, there are also EU rules that govern this area. The rules shall provide, inter alia, that if you highlight an ingredient in the form of text or illustrations, then it should also be possible for the consumer to see how much of the product contains the given ingredient - in this case 18% mango.
We are very conscious not to mislead our consumers and therefore, have internal procedures, including checks that we don’t highlight ingredients that may not be highlighted and if we do highlight them, then you can see the contents in the list of ingredients. In addition, we will always tell the consumer if they can expect other ingredients in the product. In this case we show great pictures of the other fruit contained in the smoothie – that’s why you see on the front page pictures of orange, apple, banana and mango – all the ingredients. This we would not necessarily have needed, but do it in order not to hide what is in the product.”
I wrote back to say that although I understood what she was saying, I still felt mislead by the labelling and the suggestion that this drink was predominantly made up of lovely mangos.
Also, just because others do it, doesn’t make it any less misleading.
This product from Innocent is better in my opinion as it gives all the main ingredients in its title.
I checked online to see if I could find any EU legislation for food labelling and came up with this:
DIRECTIVE 2000/13/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 20 March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs
I would say under Article 2 there could be a case but I am sure it’s open to interpretation.
What do you think? Misleading or is it just me?
Update to this post:
I received another reply from Rynkeby:
I am sorry that you thought that our Mango smoothie consisted of 100% pure mango – of course it’s really annoying!
We follow the said rules and see that we are on top of that also is a step ahead compared to many of our competitors. You can, for example. check Innocents or Froosh smoothies – they also highlight a taste, although there are many other fruits in the product – showing no pictures of the other ingredients. I am in no way hanging competitors out as what they do is completely legal, but it’s just to show that we have carefully considered the fact that the consumer should not be misled into believing that the product contains only one ingredient.
At the same time it’s also nice for consumers to know what the product tastes like and in this case, the taste of mango – a product made from 100% mango, would almost be undrinkable;-)
If you go in and read our inspection reports on
you will find the following formulation of the food authorities on the exact same product: http://www.findsmiley.dk/KontrolRapport.aspx?id=80168908&akt=2&AktLbNr=743385&Region=03
“Labelling and information: Checked labelling Smoothie Mango and orange juice, including labeling with net weight, trade name, durability and storage instructions.
No annotations. Checked deception in the form of illustration in cartons without annotations “
I hope that you have become a little wiser and I’ve certainly taken your views on, because we can always get even better;-)”
I used Google translate for most of this and I like the Smiley report that “Checked deception”.
In retrospect, maybe I am being a bit picky but it just grates me a little bit.
Full marks to Rynkeby though for their really fast and honest answers.