CHOICE says brand names implying naturalness and healthiness may not be living up to their image, making it difficult for consumers to determine whether something is healthy or not.
The consumer advocate reviewed 200 food products with natural or healthy sounding product names and found almost half (93) to be high in either total fat, saturated fat, sugars or sodium.
"Manufacturers are trademarking healthy words such as 'natural', 'healthy' and 'fresh' to give the impression that a product is healthier than it seems.
"Other product names suggest eco-friendliness as consumers are often willing to pay premium for perceived environmental benefits," CHOICE spokeswoman Ingrid Just said.
CHOICE recommends shoppers compared products using the per 100g column in the nutrition information panel; read the ingredients list, and; look beyond terms such as natural, healthy and fresh.