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The offending statements were
wholesome cookie goodness
made with oats and wheat, source of fibre, 6 B vitamins and iron
Here is the Guardian's quote from the ASA:
By referring only to those ingredients that could convey a nutritional benefit without also referring to those that might have a negative impact on health, the ad could imply the snack was wholly beneficial to health or that the Soft Oaties with Oat & Chocolate Chip were healthier than they were.
Apparently, the ASA accepted that the ingredients list was accurate, but said the product was also high in sugar, fat and saturated fat.
New FrontThis is great news. For me opens up a new front in the war against companies who mislead consumers about the healthiness of their foods. This is the first time I have been aware of a company being taken to task on a statement like this - normally they seem to be able to throw the word healthy around with impunity and refer to ingredients selectively in a flagrant attempt to mislead the ignorant and the derail the weak-willed.
I also like the fact that this ruling was driven by complaints both from the public and from a food campaigner at Which? This tells me people are starting to take advantage of the mechanisms available to make a difference.
Over the last year I have complained directly to a number of companies about their marketing foods as healthy when they contain unhealthy ingredients. The targets of my campaigns have been companies whose ethos is supposedly one of health and therefore whose efforts to mislead seem most morally unacceptable.
Different RouteNeedless to say, the majority of the offenders have ignored me (Roll Call of Shame: Companies Who Don't Listen). If I can find the time, I will pursue a route closer to the one we have seen in action here. The rationale applied by the ASA potentially applies to some of the products about which I have been complaining, albeit that the issue in those cases is more one of marketing than advertising and therefore probably falls outside the ASA's remit.
I will find out more.
Roll Call of Shame: Companies Who Don't Listen