Like every year since 2017, the Foodwatch association, which scrutinizes our consumer products, draws up a list of misleading products that arrive on our shelves just before the holidays. This year, 6 Christmas “casseroles” have been identified. To avoid !
Don’t be fooled by the glittery packaging of holiday products! This is the message that the Foodwatch association has been trying to remind every December during the holidays for 6 years. Indeed, behind attractive packaging, certain manufacturers allow themselves sometimes misleading freedoms in the composition or packaging of their products. This year, Foodwatch has detected 6 Christmas “scams”, casseroles as it calls them, among the consumer products that we all buy.
A lighter, but more expensive Labeyrie salmon
At Labeyrie, Le Boisé Scottish tasting smoked salmon is lighter this Christmas but costs more. “Between December 2022 and December 2023, the product went from 220g to 210g at Monoprix, i.e. 4% less product, for a price per kilo which increased by almost 19%. indicates the association.
A Brossard gingerbread, without honey, but with sugar
Brossard is releasing a “limited edition” gingerbread special “foie gras” this year. Problem: no honey is included in the composition of this gingerbread, replaced by a high content of glucose fructose syrup. The association is also surprised that this product is sold at the same price as another Brossard “touch of honey” gingerbread.
Breton-style scallops, which are not
Foodwatch also highlights the Guyader brand for its Breton-style scallop terrine. If the offer seems tempting, the label reveals several big surprises: the first ingredient is not scallops, but hake. There are many shellfish in the recipe, but not the ones you think: “These are scallops or combs, shells from the same family (Pectinidae) as scallops, but sold less expensively. And nothing very Breton about it: the origin of the peaches varies between the United Kingdom, the Faroe Islands, and even Argentina.
Bjorg cooking lemon composed mainly of water
Do you know those little lemon juices in yellow bottles? Among the different brands, Foodwatch singles out the Bjorg brand and its organic lemon juice, which, for 7 euros per liter, sells a product containing 70% water and only 30% lemon… But essential lemon oils to restore the taste.
Ciro panettone, a traditional cake… with palm oil
Maison Ciro sells a panettone, this famous Italian holiday cake. On the packaging side, we find all the mentions of a traditional cake: the flag, the Italian words, a sourdough panettone as it should be. “The problem ? Behind its traditional marketing, the brand hides in this Christmas brioche… palm oil! An ingredient much cheaper than butter and much less responsible, both environmentally and in terms of human rights.” reports the association.
Ferrero Rocher chocolate eggs, in an empty packet
Finally, the last casserole spotted is chocolate eggs from the Ferrero Rocher brand, with a “creamy center with shards of hazelnuts”. Here it is not the composition that poses a problem but the 52% empty package!
🎄 #CasseroledOr 2023: which product will be voted worst Christmas scam? 🎁
— foodwatch Europe (@foodwatchfr) December 11, 2023
Manufacturers who justify their choices
Contacted by The Parisian, manufacturers justify these practices denounced by Foodwatch, but it is difficult to really approve their arguments. Labeyrie cites the surge in salmon prices to explain his price increases. Brossard indicates that “distributors are free to set their prices”, Guyader assures that “the use of fish as the first ingredient in a scallop terrine is perfectly authorized”. Finally, Ferrero recalls that its packaging “contains a mixture of air and nitrogen which guarantees the preservation of the pralines”.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
How to better choose your holiday products?
Fortunately, to avoid misleading products, the association also provides a series of tips for making your purchases with full knowledge of the facts, without being blinded by holiday packaging:
- Be wary of mentions “grandmother’s way” or “old times”, but really read the list of ingredients to ensure a traditional recipe;
- Also identify new formats or “new recipes”, which are sometimes more expensive or less full than the usual packages;
- Turn over and handle the packages, without damaging them, to identify the presence of voids;
- Look at the prices per kilo: the maxi format and family format mentions are not always the cheapest;
- Finally, identify the products placed at the head of the gondolas or near other products (the bottle of lemon juice next to the smoked salmon) it is a safe bet that cheaper or healthier versions exist on the shelves.