Supermarket giant Coles has been labelled “pretty shabby” after landing a Shonky Award for a promotion urging customers to create meals for “under $10” using ingredients that cost a lot more.
The ingredients needed to prepare one of its under $10 meal recipes cost about $39 when home pantry items are included, consumer watchdog Choice discovered.
Coles on Tuesday defended the national promotion fronted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone, saying it had been “completely upfront” about the creation and costing of its recipes.
“In terms of Choice’s claims around pantry item exclusions, we’ve clearly stated that we assume households have basic ingredients such as salt, pepper and oil already in their pantry to help create these recipes,” a Coles spokesman said.
“We believe the vast majority of our customers are comfortable with the recipe calculations, especially as we’ve had only a handful of customer queries about pantry exclusions out of the millions of Australians who have tried a recipe.”
Coles said more than nine million recipe cards developed in the promotion have been picked up by customers since April.
The fifth annual Shonky Awards, announced by Choice on Tuesday, aim to warn consumers about dodgy or dubious product claims.
“Yet year after year we’re continually amazed by marketers’ efforts to take Australians for a ride,” Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said.
A total of eight companies and products were in the 2010 awards.
Aside from Coles, the list includes names like Commonwealth Bank, Nurofen, whitegoods brand LG, Power Balance, Medalist, the website babynamemeans深圳夜生活会所, and a selection of olive oil brands.
Mr Zinn described Coles as “pretty shabby” for its under $10 meal promotion, which was advertised nationally on television and in newspapers.
“We decided to give the Shonky for its loaves-and-fishes $10 meals, where you can supposedly make some Curtis Stone master creation to feed four people for less than $10 provided, it turns out, if you happen to have some of the stuff in your pantry already,” he said.
Choice calculated a $7.76 coq au vin would cost $37.74 if one bought all the necessary ingredients, while a $9.99 chicken tikka masala would set a consumer back $39.74.
Nurofen was pinged by Choice for offering painkillers labelled for specific pain types – such as back, period and migraine – when its pain products contain identical ingredients.
One of LG’s side-by-side refrigerator models was included because the item consumes more electricity than its energy star label states – although Choice noted LG claimed the labelling was a mistake.
Also on the Shonky Awards list was Power Balance’s Power Balance band – a rubber bracelet with a plastic hologram which is claimed to promote beneficial energy flow – and the Medalist Recreational Rope – which Choice thinks looks like regular climbing rope but is not as strong.
The website babynamesmeans深圳夜生活会所,, which gives meanings of names, appeared to be a “cynical” internet trap for parents because of hidden subscription costs.
Meanwhile, Choice tested 28 brands of extra virgin olive oils and found half were nothing of the sort.
“The mainly Mediterranean manufacturers cried foul, blaming everyone else in the supply chain,” Choice said.
The full Choice Shonky Awards report can be found on its website at 深圳夜生活,choice深圳夜生活会所,深圳桑拿网,