01.Frozen yoghurt health claims
Frozen yoghurt – or froyo, as
it’s commonly called – is the
latest hot trend in cold snacks.
To distinguish their products
from other chilly treats such as gelato,
froyo shops often market them as a low-fat,
low-kilojoule, high-calcium healthy treat,
spruiking their fresh fruit toppings,
beneficial active cultures, antioxidant-rich
goji or acai berries, and even omega-3.
But just how true are these health
claims? It’s difficult for consumers to know,
because the nutrition information in many
shops is non-existent or incomplete, as we
discovered when we visited five froyo
shops in Sydney.
Not only is it hard to determine the
basics, such as fat and sugar levels, it’s
impossible to know, for example, how
many active cultures and which strains,
or how much omega-3 is in the food. One
chain, Noggi, couldn’t even tell us
which of its products contain omega-3,
despite laying claim to this health benefit
on one of its stores' websites.
According to Food Standards Australia
New Zealand (FSANZ), takeaway shops
selling unpackaged food should be able
to provide nutrition information on
request - and if a nutrition or health
claim is made about the food, a
nutrition label should be available.
Of the five shops we visited, only
two displayed very basic nutrition
information. WowCow, an
Australian company started
in 2006, was the only one
able to produce
information in-store when asked, as well as an ingredients list on their website.
Yogurtland, a US
chain, displays measurements in fluid
ounces for each flavour, despite the fact that the Food Standards Code requires measurements to be expressed as kilojoules per number of grams or millilitres. The chain also only shows calories, protein, and total carbohydrates for each flavour, leaving out useful information such as fat, saturated fat, and sugar.
Some chains display nutrition
information on their websites for their
yoghurt flavours, and a couple also
provide information about their
toppings. But they only show information
per 100g, which isn’t much help
when you’re in the store, faced with a
variety of cups which are not labelled
by weight and which can range from 90g to 500ml.
We also found some questionable
nutrition information on offer. Noggi’s
analysis claims 100g of strawberries
provides 1kJ of energy, when in fact it's closer to 100kJ.
Wacky health claims
While some yoghurt
stores make claims we can’t verify due to lack
of nutrition data, Yogurberry
goes one step further,
with some frankly
wacky health claims.
In-store posters say
the yoghurt contains
“vast quantities of bifidus
lactobacillus [sic]” that is
not only “excellent for your
digestion” but can also “aid
weight loss and significantly
lower the risk of coronary
in-store pamphlet claims
“calcium is known to have
slimming effects” and that “live
yoghurt cultures… can slow the
ageing process of the body”.
New laws that take effect
from January 2016 will
regulate health claims on
labels or in ads. In the
meantime, a transitional
standard prohibits claims
that a food is slimming or
has intrinsic weight-reducing
properties, and must not refer
to the prevention, diagnosis,
cure or alleviation of a disease.
As a result of CHOICE's enquiries,
Yogurberry’s claims are
being investigated by NSW
Next page: Is it really yoghurt?