ASA ruling

Weetabix ‘proper breakfast’ ad doesn’t infer health benefit, says UK watchdog

By Annie Harrison-Dunn contact

- Last updated on GMT

 ‘Good for you’, ‘superfood’ and ‘healthy’ are all general health claims - but ‘a proper breakfast’ is not, according to the ASA
‘Good for you’, ‘superfood’ and ‘healthy’ are all general health claims - but ‘a proper breakfast’ is not, according to the ASA

Related tags: Nutrition

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected a complaint that a Weetabix ‘proper breakfast’ advert implied the product was good for overall health.

The complainant said the TV ad for the Weetabix ‘On The Go Breakfast’ drink made a general reference to the benefit of the product for overall good health or health-related well-being, for which a specific authorised health claim would need to be included under the EU 2006 nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

However the ASA dropped the case saying viewers were unlikely to understand the product was beneficial for overall good health but instead simply as an alternative for someone who did not have time to eat breakfast at home. 

It said the company had not made a reference to a health benefit that needed backing.

In its defence the UK cereal company referenced UK Department of Health (DOH) examples of general health claims such as ‘good for you’, ‘superfood’ and ‘healthy’ and said these claims referred very clearly to the potential health benefits of a food. The phrase ‘a proper breakfast’ did not carry such connotations.

“They believed ‘proper’ highlighted that the product had been developed as a breakfast alternative,”​ the ASA relayed in its ruling.

The advertising watchdog added that a scene in which an actor pushes away a croissant after drinking the product suggested he had already deaten breakfast and the drink was therefore a breakfast alternative.

Launched in July this year, the drink targeted consumers who were “increasingly aware of the benefits of protein”. ​Each serving provided 20 g of protein.

“With protein moving from the gym to the mainstream, 'Weetabix On The Go Protein' has been developed to attract new consumers to the breakfast drinks category, appealing to young consumers, for whom convenience is still a key driver in their breakfast purchase, and who skip breakfast more than any other age group,”​ the company said upon its launch.

It said the range looked to recoup lost cereal sales.

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