Matcha-less matcha tea, "goat cheese" from cow’s milk among misleading food award nominees

Lipton Ice Tea display in Albert Heijn
A Lipton Ice Tea display inside an Albert Heijn in Winschoten, Groningen. April 6, 2018Donald TrungWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

Food watchdog Foodwatch opened voting for its annual most misleading product of the year election - the so-called Gouden Windei award. This year there are eight nominees, including Lipton Matcha iced tea, which contains nearly no matcha tea, and two from Albert Heijn - goat's milk cheese spread that is made mostly of cow's milk, and seasonal vegetables it imports from the other side of the world. 

There are two varieties of Lipton's Ice Tea where the word "Matcha" features prominently on the label, despite the ingredients showing the beverage is made up of just 0.007-percent powdered matcha tea. There is hardly any green tea in either the Ginger & Lemongrass or Cucumber Mint flavor options, with each containing 0.14-percent green tea extract, according to the labels on the bottles.

According to Foodwatch, the AH goat's milk cheese spread is more expensive than the cow's milk variety, and yet the goat's milk spread contains over 80 percent cow's milk. The watchdog's other problem with Albert Heijn this year is the chain's so-called "seasonal vegetables," like asparagus from Peru, watermelon from South Africa, Galia melon and white grapes from Brazil, green beans from Egypt, and cherry tomatoes and raspberries from Morocco. Transporting these products from the other side of the world costs a great deal of energy, but at least Albert Heijn can have seasonal fruit and veggies year round, Foodwatch said in its criticism.

Another product getting scorn for its excessive energy use, despite promises of being environmentally friendly, is Cano Water in a can. Despite being shipped and exported from Austria, the product is sold as being more sustainable even though the supply chain means its carbon footprint is essentially the same as water sold in plastic bottles.

Other products among the nominees this year are Bongo peanut butter which consists of only 50 percent peanuts. Chocolatepasta by De Kleine Keueken - a chocolate spread for bread promoted for babies from 8 months, which contains 30 percent sugar. The food organization also lambasted Kellogg's coco pops bars, which are jam-packed with sugar.

Consumer's can vote for the most misleading product of the year on the non-profit organization's website

Last year's winner was Jumbo's Goudeerlijk cornbread. According to Foodwatch, this cornbread is baked without cornmeal and only contains corn pieces for decoration. The corn-yellow color is created by adding the spice turmeric.

The name of the award, the Gouden Windei, comes from the Dutch words for "golden" and "an empty egg," signifying the receipt of nothing of value where lofty promises were made.

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