Sugar campaigner calls for clampdown on ‘misleading’ nutrition and health claims on baby and toddler food

The group is calling on the complete removal of what it called misleading nutrition and health claims on baby and toddler food and drink products and urging the new Health Minister to publish and mandate the overdue commercial baby food and drink guidelines. This will ensure dedicated baby aisles in supermarkets are a ‘safe space’ for parents.

Its analysis of nearly 100 baby and toddler breakfast items sold in stores, found Ella’s Kitchen’s Banana, Apple & Blueberry Baby Rice had the highest sugar per serve, with 14.5g sugars per pouch (equivalent to 4 teaspoons sugar). This was followed by Ella’s Kitchen’s Banana Baby Brekkie (13.6g per serve) and Ella’s Kitchen Bananas, Apricots + Baby Rice (13.5g per serve).

All products surveyed used nutrition or health claims on-pack and over three quarters (86%) used a ‘no added sugar’ or ‘only naturally occurring sugars’ claim.

However, many add sugars in the form of fruit/vegetable juices, concentrates, purees and powders (types of sugars that should be limited) misleading parents/carers into thinking that the product is healthier than it is, the research said. It claimed only one brand, Little Freddie, was responsibly choosing not to use these claims on their products,

In what it described as ‘worrying’, Heinz By Nature Creamed Porridge uses plain sugar as an ingredient yet champions the claims ‘only natural ingredients’ in addition to ‘sugar from a natural source’ which is not listed as a legally permitted claim.