The latest trend in healthy drinks marketing is “aromatised waters” – plain water with a hint of flavour from fruit or plants.
Except that’s not what they are at all, claims consumer protection organisation Test-Achats, in its latest report. “We tested 26 aromatised waters,” the organisation reports. “We found that some of them in reality also contain added sugar, sweeteners and also other additives and/or fruit juices.” The organisation has filed a complaint for misleading labelling with the federal economy ministry in some of the cases.
Test-Achats attributes the growth in these products to companies “surfing on the trend of healthier eating and drinking” by offering what pretends to be a healthy alternative to plain water.
“Not in itself such a bad idea, seeing as how the flavour can lead to some people drinking more water. But the condition is of course that these drinks are truly made out of water and flavours only.”
And that’s not the case, as their tests showed. Half of the 26 products examined would more accurately, on the basis of their contents, be labelled “lemonade”.
“It seems to us self-evident that aromatised water can only contain water and flavouring or natural extracts with zero calories and 0g sugar. For that reason we have filed a complaint against Better Water (a product from Unilever) and Evian Fruits & Plants (produced by Danone), products which use the word water on the front of their packaging, while they are actually lemonades, and therefore ought to be labelled as such.”
The two products are listed among what Test-Achats called “Pinocchio Products” – presumably products that are not open about their true nature. The list is already 36 products long, including vanilla vla from Albert Heijn and Capri-Sun (undeclared added sugars), Lu and BN biscuits (false claim of whole grains), Fristi (false fruit claims) and Carrefour hazelnut spread (only 2% hazelnuts).