Nestlé's Milo receives a Shonky Award

Nestlé’s Milo received a Shonky Award for sugar-coating its health claims.

Milo proudly displays 4.5 Health Star Rating, but only if it’s prepared with skim milk. On its own, the malt chocolate sugar dirt scores a lowly 1.5 star. Our survey found only 13 % of Aussies like to drink Milo with skim milk. But what about the rest? The below mockumentary shows one preferred method.

Join our campaign to make Milo’s health star ratings honest:


I agree with your stance, if you mix enough healthy cereal with a chocolate bar you’ll end up with a 4.5 star rating as well, its only playing with figures.Keep up the good work.


My favourite part about this story was that when you put Milo on full cream vanilla ice cream it still gets a better Health Star Rating than just three teaspoons of straight Milo. Makes sense when you think about it but still gave me a chuckle.


The amount of sugar has always been on the label. People who buy it don’t want to know.

using that logic though we should just ban every single health claim on every single packet. nutritional info is on the back of every product, but most people don’t have time to check and compare every single product they buy at the supermarket - especially parents. that’s why the health star helps you to compare products and find something healthy, or at least it’s supposed to. the idea was to incentivize companies to formulate healthier products, not have companies find shoddy ways to get higher stars.

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If they “don’t have time” then that is their problem, not anyone else’s.

This has nothing to do with Milo but I got a laugh out of the word you used “incentivize” so had to look it up.
Here’s an interesting take on that word lol

Food manufacturers have absolutely NO qualms about ‘finding shoddy ways’ to get more anything especially more sales, higher consumer prices, lower fabrication costs and higher profits. Why do you think cans, bottles and jars with domed bottoms are so popular with the manufacturers? Or useless/baseless claims such as ‘superfood’, “no cholesterol” (on foods that never had any in the first place e.g. tinned fruit,) ‘all natural’ (- all natural what?) Deadly nightshade? Arsenic?) ‘no added sugar’ (completely ignoring the mountain of sugar the food source may hold e.g. honey, agave, coconut nectar), ‘fat free’ (ignore the extensive list of other additives and the mountain of sugar to improve taste and ‘mouth feel’), and now the spurious “gluten free” bandwagon. The list is endless.

So why are we now so surprised that Milo is NOT actually a healthy food at all, its the skimmed milk that has that claim (although even that is now rather contentious and perhaps full cream milk is not the baddie we thought it to be). If you mix milo and water the GI score is the same as Coca Cola! Mixing with skimmed milk lowers the GI score to about 33 (because the fat in the milk prevents fast absorption of the sugar, but the milk also adds more sugar in the form of lactose pushing up the sugar level further). Buy Milo, enjoy it anyway you like it. But don’t kid yourself it is healthy.


I am serious, that was literally one of the intents of the scheme. Just because a lot of companies do it doesn’t mean we should just sit back and say “fine” when they take advantage of schemes like the star ratings. The idea was that companies would formulate healthier products to get more stars, which has been vexed by companies altering serving sizes, displaying star logos for foods plus other foods (in the case of Milo), or not displaying the star logo at all. Hence why Choice runs things like the Shonky awards, to call these products out. Some people DO believe advertising, some people DO find current nutritional info on foods confusing or time consuming. The solution is not just to call those people dumb (not that you have but I’ve seen others do that on here) or say ‘what did you expect’.


Months later – I wonder if the Shonkies cause many businesses to change anything.

Does Choice follow the Shonky recipients and any outcome of the award? An example would be if Nestle changed their claims - it appears they have not.

If a business does not care and its customers do not care and they have not lost either sales or market share, are Shonkies just a bit of publicity without relevance, excepting that calling out companies is the right thing to do? What is the percentage of companies that respond positively?


@PhilT, it’s a good question and relevant. We want to have the most impact as possible for consumers, and particularly to work to keep our member’s informed. However, having an impact on the market is difficult and complex, and in many cases it would be remiss to claim any one factor as responsible for a definitive single outcome.

However, there are recent examples of businesses that have made significant changes after being featured in the Shonky’s, such as the Medical Weight Loss Institute, but again this would be due to multiple factors. There are other examples where our investigations result in penalties, such as from the ACCC, and still others where we’ve managed to utilise collective consumer power to effect change. It all adds up and we generally don’t stop until the right outcome is acheived - some of our battles span decades.

Milo is still making their shonky health star claims, but we’re also working hard on this issue. Expect to see a lot more about added sugar from us in the future!


One win for the consumer:


Having visted the local supermarket this morning…and looking at fhe powdered mild additives next to Milo and also made by Nestlé, all the other ones are also labeled with high star ratings. The high star ratings are also based on the mixed product…with skim milk.

Looks like Nestlé tricks are not confined to Milo and maybe all their powdered milk additives also should be awarded a shonky.


It reads like Nestle itself should get the Shonky for ongoing and apparently ingrained dodgy behaviour. But rules are rules and corporations and those who can are all but obligated to take advantage of them when possible in our ‘state of the world’ :frowning:


A good news article about the history of Milo.

Milo - “For Health, Strength, Stamina” as says the 1950’s era advert. And a formula that has hardly changed over 100 years.

Does Smithtown’s dependency on Milo flavoured treats rate as a success?
It would also be informative if the ABC looked to the Australian towns and farming dynasties that thrived on tobacco leaf growing. Where are they now?

Who’d have thought adding a little chocolate inspired flavouring to sugar would be so noteworthy.
Another winner is the dental health industry, not covered by Medicare or supported by government because poor dental health it is a self inflicted ill? (Sarcasm intended)

We could look to the cane sugar industry and the Pioneer Valley (Mackay) or is it the Burdekin (Ayr & Home Hill) that deserve the title of Australia’s sugar capital. Many more jobs than Milo, source of the primary ingredient in Milo, and some green energy credit?

Bettter get your entries in.

How about adding to the list sustagen if you mean them they advertise as being good. I have purchased before a few years ago. Im not sure if the price for sustagen is worthy around 18 dollars a 800gm container. They also have hospital formula. Not sure what makes it hospital formula. I can understand some of the ingredients are beneficial. Anyhow I guess that’s business for you.


There are multiple formulations of Sustagen. These include two versions of Hospital formula. The details of each and nutrition details can be found at.

From experience that product or alternatives are often recommended as supplements by GP’s, Dieticians, and may be provided in hospital and aged care. Whether the sugar content could be less, or if it is a real concern, the hospital versions are more than just flavoured milk or water.

Not all older Australians can eat as wide a variety of foods as us less old ones. Teeth and chewing problems, swallowing issues etc, are not uncommon. Unless one intends to live on baby food consistency purée, supplemental drinks are a great option to provide variety. They can also be thickened as needed.


Yes they surely have quite a few around. Abbott also have one i have seen. Do you not think they are just trying to market certain people i only ask as vitamins get targeted for example multi vitamin. And i am comparing them similar with different minerals. It’s true older people sometimes cannot eat normal foods. Anyway just curious on opinions