“The Guide of Good Choices at the Supermarket” was published on Thursday, and it made for worrying reading for regular supermarket shoppers.
The nutritionists behind the publication studied 800 common supermarket foods for the guide, and decided that 323 products “should be avoided”.
A further 107 items “should be banished from shopping trolleys because of their additives, or the poor quality of the raw materials”.
The front cover of the guide, for example, shows a comparison between two packs of biscuits: On the left side the Petits Sablés get a big “oui” and are listed as having just four ingredients and no additives.
On the other side the Petit Brun Extra biscuits get a “non” for their 11 ingredients and five additives (not to mention the high glycemic index).
Other products to get the “non” included:
Tropical's Sunny Delight flavoured juice
Matin Délice juice from Andros
Tarama's cod eggs (Oeufs de cabillaud)
Salmon entrée (entrée au saumon) from Odyssee
Packeted roast pork (Rôti de porc) from Fleury Michon
Smoked ham roast (Rôti de jambon fumée) from Herta
Cooked ham (jambon cuit) from Bonjour de campagne
The guide also included the products worth praising, often including items made by the same brands that were behind the “banned” products.
Some of these included: Tropicana's Ruby Breakfast flavour, the Jus d'Orange from Monoprix, salmon tartare from Carrefour, and tuna steaks from Coraya.
The full list can be seen for €15 by buying the guide.
The editor of the guide, Thierry Souccar, said that he had come across “horrors” in the supermarkets while making the book, which is now in its seventh edition.
For example, he said for some gluten-free products trying to replicate the taste and feel of wheat grass, producers were adding too many emulsifiers and additives.
“The product ends up being completely removed from the intended nutritional ideal,” he told Europe 1.
Another nutritionist told the channel that while these products did indeed include potentially harmful products, it didn't mean that shoppers should immediately avoid them.
“Eaten in small amounts, none of these products is really dangerous,” Patrick Serog said, adding that anything truly dangerous would be withdrawn from sale immediately.
The guide suggests shoppers should always choose the product with the shortest list of ingredients on the back.
Consumers should also aim to buy food items that are comprised of ingredients that can be found in your cupboards, like wheat and sugar, rather than modified starch and glucose syrup.