Soy milk confusion in Hong Kong

Unlike my previous visit to Hong Kong when I was searching for cow milk, this time around I was on the hunt for soy milk.

Wellcome supermarket in Tai Po

At a nearby supermarket I found a wide selection.

Wide variety of soy milk available in a Hong Kong supermarket

From around the world.

Import Japanese milk and Australian soy milk in the supermaket

Including Australian brands like Sanitarium.

Wide variety of soy milk available in a Hong Kong supermarket

The packaging on these Australian made PureHarvest soy milks needed to be updated for the local market.

'Cholesterol free / lactose free' stickers slapped on cartons of PureHarvest soy milk

This carton having a promotional claim blacked out.

Blacked out promotional claim on the rear of a carton of PureHarvest soy milk

But the strangest soy milk I found was a carton of Vitasoy ‘Soy Milky’.

Australian-made Vitasoy 'Soy Milky' with the 'Lite' covered over for the Hong Kong market

It’s manufactured by Vitasoy’s subsidiary in Australia, then imported back into Hong Kong by the parent company.

But with one claim on the carton covered up:

Lite – Less than 2% Fat
40% less fat than Soy Milky Regular

Under Australia food standards, “Lite” means.

The food contains at least 25% less fat than in the same quantity of reference food.

While Hong Kong standards are much the same.

Nutrient comparative claim compares the energy value or the content level of nutrients contained in the same or similar types (e.g. same or different brands of the same or similar food items) of food.

Nutrient comparative claim must fulfil the following criteria –

i. The comparison must be on energy or those nutrients specified in Schedule 8 of the Amendment Regulation for different versions of the same or similar foods and is based on the same quantity of food;
ii. The description of the food being compared and the amount of difference (absolute value or as a percentage or a fraction) must be stated in close proximity to the nutrient comparative claims; and
iii. The comparison must meet the conditions below –

Total fat
25% Minimum Relative Difference
Liquid food: Not less than 1.5 g of total fat per 100 mL of food

So why did Vitasoy bother covering up the ‘Lite’ claim in Hong Kong? I’ve got no idea!

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2 Responses to Soy milk confusion in Hong Kong

  1. Paul says:

    What you missed is that the column heading for the “Not less than 1.5 g of total fat per 100 mL of food” is the absolute difference in fat levels.

    So if, say, the regular is 2.5g/100ml of fat and the lite is 1.5g/100ml then it matches the “40% less” claim, and meets the Aussie and HK standards of “25% less”, but fails the HK standard of “not less than 1.5g” less.

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