The Federal Court of Australia filed its ruling today (September 29) in Melbourne stating Coles could no longer promote or supply bread products as ‘freshly baked’ when they were not.
The retailer was also ordered to display a prominent corrective notice in store and online declaring it had made ‘false, misleading and deceptive representations’.
The ban comes after an earlier ruling in June, 2014 that concluded Coles had breached three parts of Australian Consumer Law; misleading consumers with false claims that its bakery products were ‘freshly baked’ when they were par-baked (only partially baked).
Proceedings against the retail giant were initially launched a year before, in June 2013.
Chief Justice James Allsop said the injunction was “straight-forward and simple” and there was no need for compliance orders to be made.
“The publicity already received by Coles and the publicity likely to be received by the Corrective Notice to be displayed in stores and on the website will amply act as a discipline for the need for compliance,” he said.
Par-baked from frozen, not baked fresh today…
The court case was initially brought against Coles over ‘baked today, sold today’ and ‘freshly baked in-store’ claims made on its Cuisine Royale and Coles Bakery breads that were par-baked from frozen in store.
The ACCC said these claims were misleading to consumers who should be able to rely on the accuracy of credence claims. “They are powerful marketing tools that can mislead consumers if improperly used and have the potential to adversely impact the competitive process and small businesses,” it said.
Allsop said in his earlier ruling that Coles must work to differentiate between bakery products made from scratch, from frozen dough and using the par-baked method.
A separate court date will be fixed to address pecuniary penalties and costs, suggested to be up to A$1.1m per offence.