Tag Archives UK

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a challenge to a bus poster sponsored by Viva, a vegan-advocacy group, that claimed the hormones in cow's milk have been "linked to cancer." Viva asserted that consumers interpret the words “linked to” as a phrase “commonly used to express an association between two factors when there was a potential or likely relationship but not an absolute causative relationship." The group submitted several research papers in support of the ad claim, but ASA was unconvinced by each study, citing unrelated or overly broad subject matters as well as the inclusion of self-reported data. ASA concluded that "the claim 'milk contains 35 hormones, including oestrogen … some of these are linked to cancer', as it would be understood by consumers to mean that due to the presence of hormones, drinking cow’s milk could increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, had not been substantiated and…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld an advocacy group's challenge to the use of the term “natural” by Pret A Manger but rejected a challenge to the company’s advertising claim that its breads are fresh-baked at each location. Ads on Pret A Manger’s website and Facebook page claimed that the chain makes “handmade natural food,” “avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast food’ on the market.” Pret A Manger argued that the ads did not imply that it uses only natural ingredients or that its food is additive- and preservative-free; rather, the terminology was used to express the company's mission, which is partly to “avoid (as opposed to entirely eliminate) ‘obscure’ (as opposed to all)” chemicals. ASA upheld the challenge, determining that consumers were likely to interpret the claims to mean that the chain’s food was “natural” and free from…

The United Kingdom has announced plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and drink stirrers in an effort to combat plastic waste in oceans. Previous initiatives to further that goal have included a ban on microbeads in personal care products, fees for single-use plastic bags and a proposal for a deposit-return process for single-use drink containers. Plastic straws necessary for medical treatment may be exempted from the ban. "Alongside our domestic action, this week we are rallying Commonwealth countries to join us in the fight against marine plastics, with £61.4 million funding for global research and to improve waste management in developing countries," Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement.

A policy report announced by Public Health England (PHE) and the U.K. Department of Health and Social Care calls on the food industry to cut calorie content of certain foods—including pizza, ready-made meals, packaged sandwiches, meat products and savory snacks—by 20 percent before 2024. The report recommends reduction of calories through product reformulation, portion-size reduction and promotion of lower-calorie products. According to PHE data released March 6, 2018, overweight children consume up to 500 excess calories per day, while overweight adults consume up to 300 excess daily calories. Along with a continuing program of salt and sugar reduction efforts, PHE also plans to launch a campaign to educate consumers on the calorie content of meals and snacks. According to the report, the U.K. National Health Service spends more than $8 million a year treating obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and the next step will be to engage…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a challenge to a Heinz television ad for canned beans that claimed the beans contained similar levels of protein, fiber and fat as those in a protein shake. The ad showed a man drinking a beverage that he described as “supercharged with high fibre and minimal fat,” and although the beverage was not labeled or identified, ASA decided most consumers would conclude the man was drinking a protein shake. While the ad did not directly compare the nutritional benefits of beans to those of protein drinks and the ad’s nutritional claims for beans were substantiated, ASA ruled that Heinz made a nutrition claim prohibited by broadcast codes.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Kerry Foods Ltd.'s television advertisements for Richmond Sausages asserting that its products are “the nation’s favourite” are backed by independent third-party market research and did not breach advertising codes. After ASA received three complaints about the ads, Kerry Foods provided research showing the sausages were the highest-ranked for both value and unit sales in the 12 months preceding the dates the ads were aired. ASA found that while the ads did not contain information that would allow consumers to verify the comparison, the market research was sufficient to substantiate the claim.

Scottish brewery BrewDog lost its battle to call one of its craft beers “Elvis Juice” when the U.K. Intellectual Property Office ruled that Elvis Presley’s estate still owns a trademark for “Elvis” beer. BrewDog released the grapefruit IPA in 2015, and the U.K. trademark owner, Authentic Brands Group, filed an infringement notice. The administrative body determined that consumers were likely to be confused by the names and that the average consumer would assume that the beer was produced by the Presley estate. See CNBC, July 12, 2017.   Issue 641

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint arguing an advertisement for Arla Foods’ organic milk was misleading because it included the statements “Good for the land” and “helping support a more sustainable future.” ASA reviewed evidence the company provided about its organic farming methods but concluded that the dairy had failed to substantiate its claim that organic milk production has an “overall positive impact on the environment, taking into account its full life cycle.” Accordingly, the agency ruled that the ad was misleading and told Arla not to make environmental claims about their products unless they could be substantiated.   Issue 637

Several companies have formed a new group to promote a balanced discussion of alcoholic beverage consumption and address implementation of U.K. labeling recommendations. The Alcohol Information Partnership (AIP) reportedly plans to draw attention to research showing that most adults consume alcohol responsibly and that binge drinking is in decline. In addition, the companies behind the new initiative reportedly plan to meet with the U.K. Department of Health before adopting its voluntary guidelines, which, in part, ask labels to declare that there is “no safe level” of alcoholic beverage consumption. “Alcohol misuse is an incredibly serious issue,” said AIP Director-General Dave Roberts. “As a society, we should continue to have rigorous debate about how best we continue to tackle and reduce alcohol misuse. But the debate has become increasingly imbalanced and characterized by poor representation of the evidence… The Alcohol Information Partnership is here to bring balance back to the debate…

Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury) has released the details of a proposed soft-drink levy announced during March 2016 budget talks as part of the U.K. government’s childhood obesity action plan. Slated to take effect in April 2018, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) would affect the manufacturers of added-sugar soft drinks “with total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100 millilitres, with a higher rate for drinks with 8 grams or more per 100 millilitres.” The levy exempts beverages with no added sugar—including 100-percent fruit juice—as well as alcohol beverages with alcohol content above 0.5-percent alcohol by volume. The SDIL would also apply to imported soft drinks. HM Treasury has requested comments on the SDIL by October 13, 2016. Among other things, the government seeks evidence and views from respondents about (i) “the types of added-sugar low alcohol products that may be captured by the levy, and the appropriate approach…

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