Fined $377,000, the makers of Royal jelly supplements, New Zealand Health Food Company, have pleaded guilty for misrepresenting its products as being from New Zealand.
The Commerce Commission noted the phrases and images used by NZHFC when marketing its supplements, such as stating they were “100% New Zealand”, and use a “selection of some of the finest bee products that New Zealand’s wild and rugged landscape has to offer” were untrue, and the key ingredient in these products came from China.
The Judge said consumers deserved to know the true origin of the products they were buying, and NZHFC’s conduct was “at best careless, and at worst done deliberately” to gain an advantage.
Commission chair Anna Rawlings said it was disappointing to see businesses continue to use associations with New Zealand for commercial gain, rather than genuinely make products in New Zealand.
“Businesses need to consider the overall impression that consumers are likely to form from the phrases and images used in marketing, including brand names,” Rawlings said.
“Country of origin claims are very difficult for consumers to verify, so businesses must ensure packaging and marketing materials are clear and not misleading.”