Kids cereal, yogurt and protein paste top Bad Taste Food Awards

Sugary foods and meats proclaiming to be "cage-free" have topped the 2018 Bad Taste Food Awards.

The annual list, released by Consumer NZ, highlights the dubious claims food manufacturers make to market their products as better choices.

Foods chosen for the awards in 2018 often contained fruit or whole grain, but also staggering amounts of sugar.

One product, E2 fruit-flavoured drink, contained 78g of sugar in one 800ml bottle. That's nearly 20 teaspoons.

Cereal manufacturer Nesquick, whose chocolate cereal features on the list, told NZME consumers reducing the sugar content would have a significant effect on flavour, texture and "bowl life".

The 2018 list also featured meat and animal welfare claims.

Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said cage-free labelling implies the food is free range, but in reality it isn't.

"'Cage-free' claims on your chicken might sound reassuring. But these claims are meaningless and risk misleading shoppers about what they're buying," Ms Chetwin said.

"Chickens raised for meat aren't kept in cages. And cage-free doesn't mean free range the chooks don't leave the shed."

Tegel spokesperson Liam Baldwin told NZME the cage-free label was there to stop consumers assuming its chickens were raised in cages.

Full list of Bad Food Taste Awards winners

Nestle Nesquick cereal - nearly 30 percent sugar despite claiming to be whole grain and free from artificial colours and flavours

Nature Valley Crunchy Oats and Honey snack bars - Each bar contains 12g (nearly three teaspoons) of sugar

Simply Squeezed Super Juice Warrior - One glass contains 29.2 grams of sugar, and you would get more vitamin C from an orange, despite the label claiming it's a good source of vitamin C

E2 juice - An 800ml bottle contains 78 grams of sugar (nearly 20 teaspoons)

Nutri-Grain TO GO Protein Squeezer - Excessive sugar, and most New Zealanders get enough protein in their diet to make such products unnecessary

Baby mum-mum first rice rusks - Claim to contain vegetables, but they only make up 1.36 percent of ingredients

Bounce Cacao Mint Protein Energy Ball - Rice and grape syrup add significant sugar, making each 45g ball 22.8 percent sugar

Fresh 'n Fruity Berries Galore yoghurt - Plenty of fruit on the packaging, but the top two ingredients are sugar and milk. "Berry combo" flavoured pots contain only 3.5 percent berry.

Tegel, Ingham, Pams "cage-free" chicken - Cage-free does not mean free range.