Have your oats been lying to you?

For many of us, oats or porridge are our breakfast of choice. But the ACCC says we may have been

For many of us, oats or porridge are our breakfast of choice. But the ACCC says we may have been misled by unscrupulous advertising into believing our bowl of porridge will give us some kind of superpowers.

At any rate, the ACCC says the makers of Uncle Tobys oats went too far by describing their oats as “protein, superfood”.

The commission fined Nestle owned Cereal Parters $32,400 for claiming that Uncle Tobys “Quick Sachet” oats were a “natural source of protein, superfood” and that Uncle Tobys “Traditional” oats were “naturally rich in protein, superfood”.

The ACCC says these claims are false or misleading because they are only true when the oats were combined with milk.

uncle tobys

“Consumers should be able to purchase food products based on accurate health and composition claims … Oats have many health benefits, [but] on their own they are not high in protein, contrary to the representations made about these Uncle Tobys products,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

If you read the fine-print on the box, you learn that the oats only become rich in protein, superfood “When prepared with [1/2 or 2/3] cup of skim milk”.

Fairfax reports that an ad for the oats went so far as to say: “Did you know that Uncle Tobys oats with milk are naturally rich in protein, which helps build muscles”.

While you may think this is a bit of a storm in a cereal bowl, the ACCC takes misleading advertising very seriously – as some people may part with their money under false beliefs.

“Business should be aware that a fine print disclaimer is insufficient to correct or qualify a prominent representation on packaging or in advertising that is false or misleading,” said Mr Simms.

Are you a ‘porridge person’? Are you offended by these misleading claims? Do you feel there needs to be more truth in advertising?

  1. I have oats instead of biscuits or cake when I’ve got the gobblies. I just soak oats in boiling water put a lid (plate) on the bowl and leave for 10 minutes then add teaspoon of honey. What about oats lowering cholesterol. Is that still true or not.

  2. Dianne Evans  

    If people do not know it is the combinations of milk and oats they should. My parents lived into thier Ninties and had that most mornings and they both swore by it! AHealthy start !

  3. Oh NO !!! And here I have been expecting to turn into Superman any day now, guess I will have to pack my cape away..I don’t think that was a serious attempt at misinformation and if it encourages kid’s to eat a decent breakfast instead of fast food, then it is not such a bad thing

  4. Well !! what can you say? LOL I don’t think I ever paid any attention to the add and I don’t think it is a serious error

  5. I love Oats because they taste nice not because I believe that they are some sort of superfood.

    • even they are not a super food, they are not going to hurt you, they are a natural food and if you like them..that is a bonus

    • I buy my organic oats from a corner fruit and vege shop in Stanley street.They had apricots at 3.99 kg last week.

  6. Oh wow and other companies don’t mislead us? The ACCC need to dig a little deeper.

  7. Anyone who takes the time to scrutinise the box I think would be savvy enough to know oats don’t contain much protein.

  8. Oats are a superfood and do help with cholesterol. The problem related to the claim of protien, as it isn’t the oats but the skim milk that is protien . If people were taught basic cooking in high scholl like I was we would all know this.

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