Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Deceptive cereal packaging , say consumers

Ken Bennett discovered that there was not the same amount of protein on the front of the packet as in the list of ingredients on the side. The difference goes from simple to double.

Radio-Canada

Cereal boxes that are misleading, legally. This is the discovery of Ken Bennett, who bought Vector cereals whose packet highlights the “high protein content”, at 13 grams per serving.

But looking at the fine print on the side of the box, this avid hiker and occasional hockey player discovers that the cereal itself contains more than 5.6 g of protein.

To get to the total of 13g, more than double, you actually have to add the recommended 200 milliliters of skim milk.

I felt cheated, he confides. It's a good level of protein for breakfast cereals, that's what made me buy it.

With inflation, consumers are more attentive to other techniques of agri-food companies such as reduflation and desqualiflation.

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This really bothers consumers, says Mary L'Abbé, professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. They really feel like they're being robbed of their hard-earned money.

Canadian laws state that labels cannot mislead consumers.

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But André Gagnon, spokesperson for Health Canada, explains that Kellogg's is authorized to calculate the addition of milk in the number of proteins since Vector is not a cereal, but rather a meal replacement, a product that meets specific nutritional criteria and may require the addition of milk.

A subtlety far from obvious. Ken Bennett bought his package in the cereal aisle. He didn't notice the words meal replacement, written in small letters in the lower right corner of the box.

I don't know what that it means meal replacement, continues this resident of Chilliwack in British Columbia. They shouldn't be allowed to do that.

An opinion shared by Mary L’Abbé. According to her, even if Vector's packaging complies with the law, it is still misleading for many buyers who believe that it is cereal: At the grocery store, it is not sold with other meal replacements, but with breakfast cereals.

The American company WK Kellogg Co, for its part, counters that Vector's label is not only compliant, but it voluntarily indicates on the box the amount of protein without added milk.

In Winnipeg, Don Bajom bought a package of Bleuet Mini-Wheats thinking that this cereal would contain it. After all, we find the fruit in the name of the cereals and in the photo on the box.

It was by believing that they lacked taste that he started looking at the ingredients. And discovered that there are no blueberries, neither dried nor in any other form.

I feel like I've been lied to, he reacts. I feel like this company doesn't care about their customers.

But then again, Kellogg's gets away with it. The company responds that on the front of the packages, natural and artificial flavors are mentioned and that all the ingredients are listed elsewhere.

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Blueberry cereal without the blueberries. This is possible and authorized thanks to a discreet mention on the side.

This product is not labeled as “Mini-Wheats with blueberry flavors”, but just as “Mini-Wheats blueberry”, notes Mary Labbé all the same. This is terribly misleading for the consumer.

According to the academic, the federal government must do more to help consumers read packaging with a critical eye. I don't think they have thought enough about the importance of these labels for consumers.

According to Andréa Daigle, carrier word of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, the department is conducting an investigation into the practices of food retailers that harm Canadians.

The ministry is currently launching a call for proposals from consumer groups.

With information from Sophia Harris of < /em>CBC

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