ASA ruling on using comparative nutrition claims

A recent ASA ruling gives an example of what not to do when using these types of claims. In a series of videos featured on Instagram, the advertiser compared the sugar content of a branded chocolate-based snack to various fruits by claiming that their product contained less sugar.The Skinny Food Co made the following non-compliant nutrition claim:

Chocolate that contains less sugar than fruit?! The Skinny Food Co allows you to continue to satisfy your sweet tooth by indulging in one of our delicious chocaholic snack pots. Meaning you don’t have to remove chocolate from your daily diet! [star eye emoji] #SkinnyFoodCo #NotGuilty”

Although this product is not a food supplement, the same rule applies to the advertising of food supplements.The Nutrition and Health Claims Register states that comparative nutrition claims:

  • May only be made between foods of the same category and must compare the food with a range of foods in that category (e.g. food supplements with other food supplements)
  • Must relate to the same quantity of food
  • Must specify the difference in the quantity of the nutrient (and/or energy value as appropriate).

The Skinny Food Co did not compare products in the same category (snack vs fruits) and additionally breached the Code due to these factors:

  • The advertised product contained 0.9g of sugar per 22g portion, and not 0.8g as was stated in the ad.
  • The amount of sugar stated in the ad for each of the fruits related to a much greater quantity of food compared to the advertised product and therefore they did not compare the sugar contents of the same quantity of food.
  • Per 100g, the advertised product contained 468 calories and the fruits contained less than 300 calories. Therefore, the amount of energy in the advertised product was considerably greater than the amount of energy in the fruits to which it was compared.

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