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Foodwatch: Too much sugar in Hipp instant tea, which is also advertised for toddlers
Is the largest baby food manufacturer misleading consumers? In any case, the Hipp group is accused by the consumer protection organization “Foodwatch”. Consumer advocates accuse the producer of children's foods of misleading parents in marketing instant tea for children. The tea is offered as a thirst quencher, but contains sugar granules and, according to consumer protection, should therefore be classified as a confectionery product and not as a regular thirst quencher.
Instant tea should be advertised as a candy rather than a thirst quencher
“The best from nature. The best for nature. Hipp, that's what my name stands for. ”This well-known advertising slogan is intended to instill parents' trust in the children's food of the company. But now the group is facing massive criticism from the consumer protection organization "Foodwatch". The initiative accuses “Hipp” of misleading consumers in marketing instant tea for toddlers. A children's drink is advertised as a "thirst quencher" even though it contains sugar granules. In the opinion of consumer advocates, the children's product should be classified as a candy. Hipp advertises the instant tea with the sugar it contains as a "refreshing and aromatic thirst quencher" that can be drunk from the age of 12 months.
However, the AID information service, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food, classifies instant teas as confectionery. Such teas should therefore not be used as a "thirst quencher", but only in exceptional cases and in small quantities, warns Foodwatch.
Up to 96 percent from sugar
The manufacturer's range is large. Different flavors are offered. For example, the teas are available with "apple balm", "forest fruits" or "fruits". Depending on the variety, the granules consist of between 94 and 96 percent different types of sugar, as a Foodwatch spokeswoman reports. However, parents could not recognize this fact on the nutritional information on the packaging. If handled properly and according to the manufacturer's instructions, the drink would then contain about 7.6 grams of sugar per 200 milliliters of tea. Food experts also think that far too much for a toddler's healthy diet if it is drunk regularly to quench the thirst. Until some time ago, the hipp teas had even been advertised for children from the age of eight months, the consumer advocates report. For example, the company advertises the apple-lemon balm tea with the slogan "Fruity and refreshing drink for babies, toddlers and schoolchildren" and it is already "ready sweetened".
Hipp resists criticism
The food manufacturer Hipp does not accept the criticism. The named products would only "use natural herbal and fruit extracts" compared to other commercially available children's teas, as the company said in a statement on Wednesday. In addition, the teas would not contain any additional "artificial flavors" or acids harmful to the teeth, such as citric acid. A group spokesman emphasized that Hipp would comply with the legal requirements for children's teas. Compared to other drinks that are also advertised as thirst quenchers for small children, e.g. sprinkled fruit juices, Hipp children's tea has only a low sugar content.
Representatives of "Foodwatch" see it completely differently. The company would put the teas, which should also be suitable for toddlers from their first birthday, on a par with mineral water. "In fact, instant teas are sugar granules that are mixed with tea extract. The finished tea contains the equivalent of around two and a half cubes of sugar per cup (200 milliliters). On the other hand, experts recommend only unsweetened teas and water as thirst quenchers for children." , says Foodwatch. As an exception, highly diluted juices could also be used for children, the consumer advocates also warn. The advertising strategies of the food company for child nutrition stand "in contrast to all common recommendations for child nutrition" criticized Markwardt. These would not match the "aggressively expressed declarations of responsibility of the company boss". After all, many parents would place a high degree of trust in the company and would rely on the statements of the company boss Jürgen Hipp.
Protest against Hipp instant tea
With the help of a mail campaign, parents should protest against the practice of the company. On the “Abgespeist.de” page, consumers can ask Hipp to remove instant tea in its current composition from the market. After all, "teas with sugar for toddlers are as superfluous as a fifth wheel on the car". According to Anne Markwardt of Foodwatch, there is a simple alternative: "Take a tea bag and pour it with boiling water." (Sb)
Image: Ruth Rudolph / pixelio.de