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Milo stars at this year's Shonkys

CHOICE says Nestle needs to stop health washing with its Milo marketing claims

05 October 2016

Nestle’s Milo has played a starring role at CHOICE’s 11th annual Shonky Awards in Sydney today after the global confectionery company sugar-coated the Health Star Rating on its malt chocolate drink. 

“Nestle shouts on pack that Milo earns a four-and-a-half star rating, when in fact the contents of the tin only receive a mere one-and-a-half stars when assessed on its own. This is a clear case of health washing,” says CHOICE Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.

“Nestle is attempting to divert attention away from the poor nutrition value of its malt chocolate dirt that is 46% sugar by basing the Health Star rating on an ‘as-prepared’ basis.” 

“Nestle inflates its Health Star Rating by basing it on mixing just three teaspoons of Milo with skim milk,” Mr Godfrey says.

Mixing Milo with almost anything else – even ice-cream – makes it appear healthier than just consuming the contents of the tin. So to help consumers make a more informed decision about the health of the product, CHOICE decided to survey consumers to see how they actually consume Milo.  

CHOICE found just 13% of people mixed Milo with skim milk, 23% of people drink Milo with light milk and the majority have it with full cream milk (55%). Some consumers also mix Milo with water (4%) and ice-cream (2%).

“Clearly, Nestle’s Star Rating reflects the healthiness of skim milk and the other products you add to it rather than the Milo alone,” Mr Godfrey says.

For the record, these are the Health Star Ratings of three teaspoons of Milo (20 grams) with popular mixers:

• 200 mL of skim milk: 4.5 stars
• 200 mL of light or reduced fat milk: 3 stars
• 200 mL of full cream milk: 2.5 stars
• 45 grams of Streets Vanilla Ice Cream: 2 stars
• Milo on its own: 1.5 stars. 
 
CHOICE is calling for Nestle to be honest about Milo’s Health Star Rating. 

Consumers can join CHOICE’s call for honest labels at choice.com.au/milo 

Other Shonky Award recipients were:

• Samsung
• Amex
• Cash Converters
• Medical Weightloss Institute
• Reckitt Benckiser's Vanish Carpet Cleaner
• Green and Clean’s bottled air
• Kellogg’s Pringles
• Camel Milk Victoria 


“While not every Shonky Award winner may be breaking laws or breaching regulations, CHOICE believes that consumers deserve better products and services, and the 2016 lemons are ripe for the picking,” Mr Godfrey says.

“We hope the Shonkys encourage consumers to look critically at the goods and services they use, question poor service, hidden costs and the fine print beneath claims that seem too good to be true.”

Access the full report on the 2016 Shonky winners at shonkys.com.au 

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE Media: 0430 172 669

A note about statistics 

The research was commissioned by CHOICE and Consumer NZ. It was conducted via online survey in partnership with the ORU, an ISO accredited panel provider with full AMSRO membership. Fieldwork was undertaken from 4 to 14 July 2016. The Australian sample of n=1010 is nationally representative of the 2011 ABS census data, the New Zealand sample of n=530 is national representative of the 2013 Statistics New Zealand census. Statistics quoted in this release are from answers in response to ‘With which of the following do you drink / eat Milo most often? (Select one)’, n=940. Excludes n=600 that do not eat Milo.