THE Auckland University’s School of Population Health, an ongoing critic of the food and supermarket industry, must be running out of funding that it needs to create public attention over its latest claims – because it is just politicking at its best.
The school has continued making radical claims over many years, most of which have been ridiculed by the industry and the latest are as silly and irresponsible as always.
The grocery industry has to believe that the attention seeking pronouncements are simply to keep their department in front of University funders. None of us could believe that expensive research could reveal that 85% of packaged foods in supermarkets are classified as being “ultra-processed” – wow, what a revelation.
This particular research, one of two “staggering” projects, says that ultra-processed foods have been altered by sweeteners, salt and fat that turns them into products that are sometimes unrecognizable from the original items. Included in this category are frozen potato products such as chips and hash browns, cordial bases, flavoured drinks, meat alternatives and jam spreads among other things.
To say that this “ultra processing” poses unnecessarily large exposure to unhealthy food products in New Zealand, is just nonsense – they should try looking at supermarkets in other parts of the world.
At the same time, the school has also come out with criticism of breakfast product suppliers and its work there is even more irresponsible nonsense.
Both suppliers and retailers would do well to ignore this pointless academic posturing because the industry does a great job of providing a variety of both fresh and processed products that certainly seems to suit the consumer.