The ACCC has had a long history of success in taking action
against food and beverage suppliers for misleading claims on pack
and in ads. Yet still the industry does not learn, with National
Foods the latest victim of ACCC investigation.
The ACCC was concerned that Berri Australian Fresh packaging
suggested that it only contained juice that was recently squeezed,
when in fact the products within this range contained either fresh
juice or a blend of fresh juice and juice that had been aseptically
stored (i.e. stored in sterile bags, typically for less than 12
months, after the juice has been extracted).
National Foods has provided the ACCC with a court enforceable
undertaking that it will change the brand name of "Berri
Australian Fresh" to "Australian Grown" as soon as
new packaging is available to ensure that no consumers are misled
in the future. National Foods has also agreed to amend its Daily
Juice Company packaging to make it clear that the products within
this range contain a blend of fresh juice, reconstituted juice and
sometimes juice that has been aseptically stored.
Specifically, the undertaking provides that National Foods
cease supplying Berri Australian Fresh and Daily Juice Company
products containing the old representations by 14 March 2011;
replace this stock with new packaging that would not mislead
publish corrective advertisements in major Sunday newspapers
throughout Australia to alert Australian consumers to the contents
of these juices while the new packaging is prepared.
"Some consumers may be prepared to pay a premium for
fresh products" ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.
"Companies wanting to take advantage of consumer
preference for fresh products have to be very careful that they do
not make misleading claims."
The ACCC is constantly on the lookout for claims made on food
products that are potentially misleading. This industry has been in
the ACCC's spotlight for some time and yet food and beverage
suppliers continue to make claims that are not factually accurate.
While the ACCC did not commence proceedings in this instance,
National Foods will have suffered unquantifiable reputation damage
as a result of the corrective advertising it was required to
undertake in this matter. It will also have incurred significant
legal and opportunity cost as a result of being investigated by the
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