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Rip off with expensive lactose-free foods

Rip off with expensive lactose-free foods

Overpriced and unnecessary lactose-free foods

Lactose-free foods are not only significantly overpriced, in many cases labeling is basically superfluous, because the products contain hardly any lactose anyway. As the Hamburg Consumer Center reports, numerous manufacturers apparently only use the "lactose-free" label to take more money from customers.

The Hamburg Consumer Advice Center has “examined a total of 24 products from the areas of sausage and cheese, bread and pastries and dairy products labeled as milk sugar-free”. The consumer advocates found that the products for people with lactose intolerance cost on average around 2.4 times as much as comparable conventional products. This also applies to products with the label "lactose-free", even though "they naturally contain no or only very little milk sugar", according to the Hamburg Consumer Center.

Lactose-free foods significantly overpriced When comparing lactose-free products with conventional foods, consumer advocates found that people with lactose intolerance had to accept an average price increase of almost 140 percent for the products examined in the market check. Lactose-free sausage products were also “on average 95 percent more expensive, although ham, boiled ham and turkey breast, for example, naturally do not contain any lactose at all and the addition of lactose is also not common in the production process,” reports the consumer center in Hamburg in its current press release.

Many products labeled as "lactose-free" contain hardly any milk sugar anyway. The lactose-free cheeses examined were also significantly more expensive than conventional comparable cheese products. On average, milk-sugar-free cheese cost 122 percent more, although here too many products, such as "the classics Emmentaler, Gouda, Tilsiter and butter cheese are naturally strictly low in lactose" and can normally be "safely consumed" by people with lactose intolerance the message from the consumer advice center.

Lactose-free black bread Leader in price surcharge For the examined black bread from the manufacturer "Minus L", the determined price surcharge was a proud 383 percent compared to normal black bread. This “black bread, declared to be gluten and lactose-free, was the top seller in the market check at almost five times the price, although bread generally does not contain any lactose at all,” criticizes the consumer advice center. In the bread products, lactose-free crispbread and multigrain bread with price increases of 170 percent and 277 percent were particularly overpriced. Consumer advocates also complained that "butter, which is naturally low in lactose and is only eaten in small quantities anyway, was 217 percent more expensive in the lactose-free variant" than normal butter.

Lactose-free for purely marketing purposes According to the consumer advice center in Hamburg, more and more food for purely marketing purposes is advertised as lactose-free and then sold overpriced. "While lactose-free milk is a good alternative for people with a corresponding intolerance, many other foods, such as hard cheese, mozzarella, bread or turkey meat, are unnecessary special products," says the position of the consumer center. Although 85 percent of Germans have no problems with milk sugar, consumer advocates report double-digit growth in sales in this area every year. The food industry has succeeded in "making lactose-free food a modern lifestyle product," explained the Hamburg consumer advice center. Many Germans suspect that lactose-free food is generally healthier.

Have lactose intolerance checked by a doctor Before buying expensive lactose-free food on suspicion, potentially affected persons should, according to the recommendation of the consumer advice center, "diagnose lactose intolerance in any case by a specialist and have it checked individually in what quantities ordinary foods can be eaten." Because everyone has a personal tolerance limit for lactose intake. Consumer advocates also see legislators as obliged to oblige manufacturers to show the exact amount of all lactose-containing foods. Such specific information would provide important information for around 12 million people affected throughout Germany when shopping. Because people with lactose intolerance could save some money if they do without the expensive special products for the already low-lactose or lactose-free foods. Furthermore, in the opinion of consumer advocates, the two terms "low in lactose" and "lactose-free" should be clearly defined by the legislature, since food labeled as "lactose-free" may still contain 0.1 grams of lactose per kilogram. (fp)

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