Supabarn Supermarkets and the Real Juice Company will each pay a $20,400 fine for claims made about a private label juice range.
The fines follow the issue of two infringement notices to each company by the ACCC in relation to representations made about the apple juice and cranberry juice products from the private label range of juices manufactured by juice manufacturer, The Real Juice Company and sold by a supermarket operator, Supabarn.
The ACCC found the labelling on the apple juice product to be false or misleading representation as it claimed the product was made from fresh apples grown in Australia, despite being made from reconstituted apple juice concentrate imported from China.
The labelling claimed:
- “It’s produced locally using the freshest quality Apples”
- “Straight From a Farm”
- “Made in Griffith”
The cranberry juice product claimed the product did not contain added sugar or any other additives, but the product contained added sugar and other additives.
The cranberry juice labelling said:
- “No added sugar; No artificial flavours; No artificial colours; No preservatives”
- “So if you like your juice fresh with nothing else added”
- “It’s really just fruit juice!”
The ACCC issued the two infringement notices because it had reasonable grounds to believe that Supabarn and The Real Juice Company had made false or misleading representations, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
“Truth in advertising is a priority area for the ACCC. Consumers should be able to make informed purchasing decisions and not be misled regarding the composition of products,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“The claims we say were made versus the reality in this situation are very concerning, particularly given recent controversy over the source of some food products. In addition, false or misleading claims of this kind not only mislead consumers, but can also disadvantage competing suppliers in the market, especially those who are using Australian grown fruit.”
“Both manufacturers and retailers can be responsible for representations made on packaging or labelling of the products they supply, and each level in the supply chain
should have systems in place to ensure that their products are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law,” Sims said.
The Real Juice Company is an Australian owned and operated manufacturer of juice products located in Griffith, New South Wales. Supabarn owns and operates four supermarkets in Canberra and five in Sydney.
From at least January 2014 to March 2015, The Real Juice Company manufactured and supplied nine flavoured juices to Supabarn under a private label contract. Both companies ceased supplying these juice products after becoming aware of the ACCC’s concerns.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australia Consumer Law. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.