Tag Archives UK

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…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld two complaints alleging that advertisements touting Kellogg Co.’s Special K® products as “full of goodness” and “nutritious” violated broadcast (BCAP) and non-broadcast (CAP) advertising codes for food, food supplements and associated health claims. The complaints targeted a TV ad for Special K® porridge that included supported health claim related to vitamin B2, as well as website claims regarding the product’s “unique Nutri K™ recipe.” According to ASA, the agency “shared Kellogg’s view that the claim ‘full of goodness’ was a reference to a general, non-specific health benefit of the product and as such, we agreed that Kellogg was required to accompany it with a specific authorized health claim.” But because the authorized vitamin B2 claim did not immediately follow the general health claim, ASA found the ad in breach of BCAP Code Rule 13.4.3. The watchdog also felt that the website advertisement…

One day after U.K. citizens voted to leave the European Union, Samuel Adams® brewer Boston Beer Co. filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “Brexit” for use on hard cider products. U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 87083390 (filed June 24, 2016). Two other applications for Brexit marks were filed the same day in the categories of dietary supplements and clothing. A Boston Beer Co. spokesperson reportedly declined to detail the company’s plans for its Brexit mark. See The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2016.   Issue 610

The High Court of England and Wales has reportedly held DJ Houghton Chicken Catching Services liable for claims brought by six Lithuanian men who allege they were victims of trafficking. The company lost its license after police raids in 2012 found what the Gangmasters Licensing Authority called “the worst UK gangmaster ever.” The men assert that during their employment catching chickens for the company, they were denied sleep and toilet breaks, charged illegal work-finding fees, abused and assaulted, denied minimum wages and provided dirty, overcrowded and unsafe living quarters. The owners of the company argued that a Lithuanian supervisor was at fault for the treatment, but the court reportedly found that the supervisor’s methods were integral to business operations, leaving the company liable for his actions. The attorney representing the Lithuanian men told The Guardian, “This is the first time a British company has been found liable for victims of…

The U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced a new levy on soft drink companies to be assessed “on the volume of sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import.” In a budget presentation before Parliament, Osborne laid out a two-tiered tax scheme slated to take effect in April 2018, “to give companies plenty of space to change their product mix.” Under the levy, which exempts milk-based drinks and fruit juices, sugar-sweetened beverages will fall into one band with “a total sugar content above 5 grams per 100 milliliters,” or “a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8 grams per 100 milliliters.” The U.K. Office for Budget Responsibility apparently anticipates that the levy will raise an estimated £520 million for increased sport funding in primary schools. “Many in the soft drinks industry recognize there’s a problem and have started to reformulate their products… So industry can…

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