The National Advertising Division (NAD) recently reviewed several claims by Nurture, Inc. regarding its Happy Baby and Happy Family infant and toddler food products. NAD recommended the advertiser modify or discontinue claims regarding its use of organic ingredients, avoidance of high fructose corn syrup, and incorporation of more antioxidants, as they conveyed unsupported, implied superiority claims over competitor products made with “conventional” ingredients. However, the NAD found sufficient substantiation for Nurture’s “organic” claims, including a characterization of its products as “organic superfoods.”
The NAD also found that, in isolation, Nurture’s “non-GMO” claims were substantiated based on its “Non-GMO Project” verification. That said, the NAD still recommended modifications to avoid an implied message that Happy Baby products are superior to those of competitors based on the absence of GMOs, since fruit and vegetable-based baby food products never contain such bioengineered ingredients. The NAD recommended narrowing the claim to specify that Nurture’s testing simply confirmed that no genetically engineered ingredients were “accidentally introduced during field production or in the supply chain.”
Lastly, the NAD reviewed several ingredient claims, finding that the names of Nuture’s product flavor varieties could list the ingredients in descending order of prominence where there was no evidence consumers were misled, but recommending removal of references to “no artificial ingredients” and “no artificial preservatives” where synthetic vitamins are included in the products. The NAD further recommended revisions to Nurture’s claims regarding the inclusion of “Salba chia” that appeared to exaggerate the identified nutritional benefits actually delivered to babies and toddlers by the ingredient.
Tip: Claims regarding health benefits of a product as a whole based on its classification as “organic,” “non-GMO,” or free of/full of particular ingredients will be closely scrutinized by regulators and the NAD. Such claims must generally be supported by scientific testing and studies and carefully qualified where necessary to reflect actual proven results.