China’s top livestreamer under fire for promoting false advertised low-calorie bread

Viya, a singer-turned-live-broadcaster has found herself in a trending topic on China’s popular micro-blogging site Weibo, not for her record-breaking sales, but for the false nutrition label found on the wholewheat bread that she promoted.

The product which is claimed to be the “best seller” among all low-calorie bread is produced by Tianyuan Zhuyi 田园主义, a low-fat healthy food brand founded in 2020 in the city of Hangzhou.

The online storm broke out on Monday (30 August) following a food test report published by Shanghai Consumer Council after the authority found the sum of percentages of listed ingredients only added up to half of the product’s total weight.

The result shows the content of carbohydrates is 16% higher than the advertised level and the bread provides 40% more energy than what was suggested on the nutrition label. Percentages of other content are also found to be higher than the claimed level.

The company has published a statement explaining that all its ingredients and nutrition labelling are compliant with relevant regulations.

But compared to the company, more attention has been put on Viya who has recommended this bread. As many believe this top KOL has played a part in misleading consumers. Having topped rankings of live streaming sales several years in a row, Wei Ya has been regarded as the “Queen of Live Commerce.” In the past year, she brought an annual sale of 38.6 billion RMB ($6 billion) through Taobao, China’s online shopping platform.

Some Internet users have called out Viya to apologise for false promotion while others seem to be more forgiving.

” I like shopping from livestreaming. Perhaps Viya’s team should learn a lesson from this and be more careful with selecting their products. ”

Comment from a Weibo user

Some also pointed out that false promotion has been a long-existing issue that hasn’t been dealt with seriously, “while live broadcasters are partly to blame, there should have been a better food quality control and the live commerce industry needs to be better regulated too,” another user commented.

Viya’s agency has issued a statement on 1 September, announcing the termination of all collaboration with the brand in question.

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