I’ve come across this many times in the supermarkets aimed towards foreigners, Westerners or Expats (so we’re talking about Fusion, International, Taste, Great, Three Sixty, Oliver’s etc.) – there is a shelf full of imported Yoghurts and all of them have some sort of black marking on the packaging.
Those blacked out lines of text hide different nutrition claims. So if some yoghurt says it has ‘extra calcium’ that gets crossed out. Or if it says it is ‘fat free’ this gets crossed out.
I always picture some poor guy at the customs office of the Hong Kong shipping port with a lifetime supply of Sharpie markers, painstakingly crossing out health claims one-by-one. But why is that? It turns out if a foreign company sells less than a certain number of units of a product in Hong Kong, these products are exempt from nutrition labelling.
However, that means they can’t make any nutrition claims at all on the package. It is much easier for these traders to simply cross out a claim, such as ‘low fat’ than it is to go through the whole process of getting the full nutrition label content approved.
But this just means that I’m standing at the supermarket yoghurt shelf, trying to decipher what the yoghurt claims to be…and of course, this expands to juices too. For example, the orange juice had its claim of ‘extra calcium’ refuted why the ‘antioxidants A and C’ in the green goodness juice are not available in Hong Kong.