Tesco's '3-a-day' label comes under fire

13th May 2013 - Fine Cut

Food retailer Tesco has come under fire for allegedly misleading consumers with the labelling used on its new range of smoothies.

According to guardian.co.uk, the own-brand smoothie labels claim that the product provides consumers with three of their five a day (fruit and vegetables). However, the official Department of Health guidelines relating to the recommend five-a-day intake say smoothies can only count for two of our five portions.

"Our advice is to limit the fruit and vegetables intake from just juice and smoothies," the Department of Health said, as the process used to make juices/smoothies lessens the fibre and increases the sugar levels of the produce. As such, it advises smoothies count for no more than two of the five-a-day portions.

As there is no regulation that backs up the government's five-a-day recommendations, though, Tesco is able to set its own guidelines when it comes to displaying the nutritional information in its smoothies. It claims that each of its new smoothies contains a full portion of fruit puree, vegetable puree and juice respectively - allowing it to make the claim.

What's more, Tesco remains steadfast in its opinion that the smoothies heighten awareness around the five-a-day guidelines and provide a "tasty" way for Britons to increase their fruit/vegetable intake. "We work hard to help our customers eat healthily," it added in a statement.

Bostonglobe.com recently commented that food labels are consumers' "best friend and worst enemy", echoing the potential feelings of consumers hearing about Tesco's allegedly misleading claims. However it also claimed it is up to consumers to ensure they properly understand food labels, calling this "key".

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