It's touted as the breakfast cereal of future champions, but Kellogg's Nutri-Grain was this week crowned the "winner" of Consumer New Zealand's first Bad Taste Food Awards.

More than 200 nominations were received after the watchdog asked consumers to highlight food marketed as healthier than it actually is.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said Nutri-Grain received the most nominations, with 63.

"What riled people was its promotion as Ironman food, a source of protein and fibre and fuel and energy for active teens. What it actually is, is more than a quarter sugar."

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Nestle's Milo also came under fire for boasting a four-and-a-half-star health rating, but that was based on mixing the powder with trim milk.

"If you rate the powder itself, Milo gets a miserable one and a half stars."

Other "winners" included Heinz Little Kids Fruit and Veg Shredz, Pams strawberry and blackcurrant flavoured Superfruit Muesli Bars, Homebrand Fruity Rings, Gatorade, Powerade and Wattie's 99% Fat Free Creamed Rice.

Blue Diamond Almonds' Almond Breeze almond milk was 98 per cent fat-free - but was also 98 per cent almond-free, Chetwin said.

Results were a combination of nominations and Consumer NZ's own research. The full report is on consumer.org.nz and in the December/January Consumer magazine.

Kellogg's New Zealand director, Will Brockbank, said the company was committed to following the law and regulations when advertising.

"Nutri-Grain is a source of fibre from wheat and oats and is a source of protein with 8.5g per serve."

It also had a long history as principal sponsor of the Ironman New Zealand and Ironman 70.3.

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Nestle spokeswoman Margaret Stuart said Milo was designed to be drunk with milk, and the health star rating was calculated in line with the ratings system and the NZ Food and Nutrition Guidelines.

"We reject Consumer NZ's assessment, which is an incorrect use of the Health Star Rating scheme."

Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said its Pams strawberry and blackcurrant Superfruit Muesli Bars met market standards when launched in 2011, but would soon be reviewed under a "brand refresh".

Countdown spokesman James Walker said it set health and nutrition targets as part of the Government's Childhood Obesity Plan.

They aimed to nutritionally review more than 1000 private label products by December 2018 and, where necessary, target sugar, saturated fat and sodium reductions. Homebrand Fruity Loops is marked for review.

Frucor's Lauren Mentjox said there were four 250ml servings in Gatorade and this was clearly labelled. It was also a scientifically proven sports drink.

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Other manufacturers did not respond to requests for comment.

Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull suggested cheap and easy alternatives to the products.

High-sugar cereals could be switched for bircher muesli - soaking oats overnight and adding nuts, seeds and fruit.

So-called sports drinks were not necessary for general exercise, with water a better option, and whole fruit should be chosen over products claiming to contain fruit.

Milo was okay occasionally, but stick to serving suggestions. Almond milk was often sweetened with cane sugar.

"Generally, try and have whole and unprocessed food and be mindful of sugar," Turnbull said. "You should be having less than six teaspoons a day (26g) of what is called free sugar - white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey and fruit juice."

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