Hubbards now openly misleading customers


Oh dear, oh dear what a mess.

Hubbards response to the outrage that they have been misleading New Zealand consumers has now taken a disturbing new twist.

In June, Hubbards was caught out lying to consumers about the levels of sugar in the Hubbards’ Muesli cereal range.

Now we see Hubbards spin doctors trying to tell the media that it’s all right saying to the Herald on Sunday “the labelling errors are regrettable”!

On top of that they threw some poor faceless person under the bus blaming them for the stuff up…”human error” they call it.

The Kiwi company blamed human error for four products being incorrectly labelled. It tested the products after the Herald on Sundayrevealed some cereals had up to 120 per cent more sugar than advised on the boxes.

Chief financial officer Sean Kelly said the error was “regrettable” and thanked the Herald on Sunday for drawing attention to it.

“Independent testing found inconsistencies in the sugar levels printed on the labelling of four of the mueslis. After a thorough internal review, we are satisfied this has been a genuine mistake resulting from human error.”  

I’m not sure how they can claim “human error” caused this as they are relabeling, which put simply, means they were wrong and probably did not test the products, using theoretical data instead of actual testing results. This is not human error but nothing short of a gross failure of their processes and procedures.

Here’s a WO public health message: These are the offending Hubbards’ muesli that have a truck load more sugar in them than on the labels.

Loaded with Sugar: In the product but not on the label

Loaded with Sugar: In the product but not on the label

So what are Hubbards doing about this?  Well they say they’re relabeling these four products from July 15th.  So in the meantime there’s 8 days where Hubbards is happy for customers to be misled.

They obviously haven’t heard of a thing called a product recall which is “an effort to limit liability for corporate negligence and to improve or avoid damage to publicity.”

Meanwhile Hubbards happily promote on their Facebook page their muesli cereal to very, very young children.

Promoting sugar loaded cereals to the very young

Promoting sugar loaded cereals to the very young

Makes you wonder if this “newest Hubbards fan” (or his mother) is reading the “current events” which show Hubbards muesli is full of sugar and has misleading labels on the packets?


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  • le sphincter

    Product recalls are only when ‘health and safety ‘ are involved. But this sort of mis-labelling is rife in the food industry. But no doubt the competitor who is the source of this story will come under scrutiny .

    By the way , is WO after Wendyl Nissens job ?, which he used to knock, But thats was then .

    • f you are a diabetic then this is a “health and safety” issue…it could kill you getting ingredient details wrong by more than 100%

      • mark

        If you are are serious about your diabetes you probably shouldn’t be buying oats soaked in golden syrup or honey

    • Pissedoffyouth

      Fuck off dick, you’d be screaming for some social justice if you found out some beer was twice the labeled strength, or if John Key said he only had half of what money he really has

    • LionKing

      Product recalls are usually made by a management team that recognises it’s the right thing to do for the consumer – not doing it while knowing its products are misleading consumers, borders on negligence.

      It sounds as though Hubbards has only done this because it was “caught out” by the Herald’s investigations. Have a look at their facebook page and the comment from a concerned customer asking whether they would ‘make the results public’. Something Hubbards has certainly not done.

    • GazzW

      So how much dosh has Hubbard provided labour’s campaign coffers with over the years Trev?

    • johnbronkhorst

      “Product recalls are only when ‘health and safety ‘ are involved”
      Product recalls are done /ordered for ANY misrepresentation in labelling!!!
      Check the law dick head!
      Some other reasons.
      short weighing
      Over weighing (yes putting more in the packet is technically illegal)
      Mistakes in Nutritional measures
      mistakes in ingredient list

  • LionKing

    Ok, so in the meantime before they get around to sticking new correct labels on the products out in the supermarkets, there’s consumers/customers that have no idea and will continue to buy these Hubbards Museli not knowing its got a shit load more sugar in it than the label says.

    Yeah so who gives a fuck about diabetics? Certainly not Hubbards.

  • peterwn

    This is on a par with the Vitamin C drink where a couple of schoolgirls found it contained zilch Vitamin C, or worse!

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    I stopped buying Hubbard’s cereal one I realised Hubbard is a labour poodle and started talking about social justice and social responsibility bs. I knew he would be doing something like this.

    • Lion_ess

      Hubbard’s face looks like breakfast cereal – his dial has always put me off buying any Hubbard’s products.

    • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

      It’s is in accordance with the same kind of masochistic thrill that Republican bible thumping secret benders get out of their mindless ranting. “Social justice, blah blah,” and then it turns out he’s a spiker. Shame he isn’t in China doing it.

  • Hillary Green

    I absolutely gobsmacked about this. Hubbards admits it’s got its got its muesli out in shops with incorrect labels on it that don’t show what’s really in it, but it’s taking them another week or so to get around to fixing the problem?

    In the meantime people are buying this muesli thinking its not full of sugar when in fact it is! Hubbards has not shame!

    If they were concerned at all about this they could (and should) send out a email to all their retail customers asking the product be taken off the shelf until their reps have had time to get around to putting on a new label with the correct information.

    Anything less just demonstrates that they are putting profit before their customers’ wellbeing.

    • It is actually fraud.

      • Dave

        Misleading and deceptive conduct (in trade)……. As a senior manager and involved in sales and marketing, we were lectured on the law around the FAIR TRADING ACT (1986) in NZ and its much harsher Aussie cousin, the Trade Practices act (1974)

        Section 9 Misleading and deceptive conduct generally

        No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.

        Section 10 Misleading conduct in relation to goods
        No person shall, in trade, engage in conduct that is liable to mislead the public as to the nature, manufacturing process, characteristics, suitability for a purpose, or quantity of goods.

        Above is a direct extract of the Fair Trading Act. the words

        * …or is likely to mislead or deceive YES, GUILTY
        * liable to mislead the public YES, GUILTY

        the Fair Trading Act covers a lot more, and Mr Hubbard needs to be very very careful. There is the good term and legally defined term of “puffery” and then there is outright bullshit Mr Hubbard.

  • DLM

    WTF so if a diabetic mistakenly (lol – actually reading the label on the muesli box) and decides to buy it on this basis, goes home, chows through some then his/her sugar levels hit the roof, it’s simply “regrettable”?

    Isn’t this also putting retailers at risk by having them sell a product that is now misleading consumers?

  • Naylor

    Just looked at Hubbards website which says they’re “doing the right thing”. Ha ha ha what a joke. Here’s a corporate that has been caught out lying to its own consumers, and is taking its time to address the problem.

    Imagine if this was Fonterra’s infant formula and the label was wrong. Do you think the Chinese would appreciate that it was, as their PR person says “regrettable”?

    No wonder the Greens have an issue with product labelling. Here’s a classic example where a corporate can’t be trusted.

  • Jimmie

    Not really a biggy WO but would it be worth putting a disclaimer on stories such as these that you have ties to the 7th day Adventist church who own Sanitarium.

    I don’t have a problem with you doing that but it would help reduce any perceived conflict of interest to have it attached when you do posts attacking one of their main competitors?

    Perception is everything (as you are fond of saying) and I could see the nasty left trying to spin a mountain out of a molehill in situations like this.


    • LionKing

      I bet the competitors will be licking their chops in glee at this (and probably quietly retesting their own products just in case), but Hubbard made such a meal out of being honest and upfront, and is still Chairman of the Hubbards company. At the end of the day, Hubbards muesli products have been and are continuing to be sold with misleading information on the side panel – and that is just wrong.

    • Why a disclaimer, if sanitarium were being as dishonest as hubbards are I would be kicking them even harder, for being sanctimonious…on top of being dishonest.

      I am an equal opportunity smasher. Your allegations disgust me, you really should retract them.

      • Jimmie

        I wasn’t alleging anything WO and I have no problems with you bashing Hubbards or Sanitarium or who ever and I definitely don’t have a problem with you being good mates with SDA folk.

        What I am saying WO is that you are top dog in the blogosphere, you have a lot of influence in the MSM, and hopefully as you head in to 2014 you will help hammer the left into oblivion.

        However something like this could be blown out of proportion by the left and pinko MSM in order for them to knock your effectiveness.(Tall Poppy Syndrome)

        You are always saying that perception is reality in politics and I am sure it is the same in media.

        In the past you have testified that the SDA’s have helped you on your spiritual walk and you obviously maintain those ties (And good on you) but I am just saying that if you hammer a competitor to Sanitarium put a small small print disclaimer at the bottom – its called CYA.

        No different to the Herald interviewing one of their own staff or a closet greenie and not mentioning the fact.

      • Whanga_Cynic

        But, but, Sanitarium ARE being dishonest – they don’t pay New Zealand tax!!! Plus, they repatriate all their profits to the USA.

  • williamabong

    So Dirty Dick has been busted as a bullshitter, at the very least Hubbards could have asked retailers to stop selling their products till they produced an over-label to correct the inaccuracy, and gone public about doing it.
    Just another case study on “marketing – and how to do it wrong “, the truth always wins.

  • Rodger T

    Even so, I still won`t buy any of the cack those parasitic cunts at Sanitarium sell.

    • Parasites? For giving away their profits, employing hundreds of people? You are seriously whacked in the head if you think that is parasitic behavior.

      • Rodger T

        Give away their profits ? ORLY ,to who ,their own church and its members?
        How many non church members do they employ?

      • Travis Poulson

        I think what he’s trying to say is he likes Vegemite.

        • Rodger T

          LoL…………….busted : )

        • Rodger T

          LoL………….busted : )

        • The product of a multi-national company that also own tobacco companies…shame

  • Dave

    another labeling, misleading scandal…… RIBENA remember the damage to their brand. Outed by some school kids doing research for a school project, you should read that case Mr Hubbard, the lost sales, cash-flow, brand damage and costs of reestablishing the damage cost them well into the Millions.

  • hardsell

    My personal opinion on this is they should have done a withdrawal (not a recall) whereby they stop supplying said product, and requested retailers remove it from shelf until they can supply correctly labelled products.
    Fair point WO on risk to diabetics etc but without having medical professional advice it’s impossible to know if there is real tangible risk of harm.
    I work in the grocery industry and its disappointing to see another supplier apparently try to dodge the issue to save a few bucks