The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against a TV commercial claiming that Kellogg’s “Special K Multi Grain Porridge” contained “30% less fat than other porridges.” According to ASA, which received complaints from PepsiCo Inc. and 14 other competitors, Kellogg Marketing and Sales Co. (UK) Ltd. argued that the advertisement’s reduced-fat comparative claim complied with the Annex to EC Regulation 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims Made on Food.
To this end, Kellogg provided ASA and Clearcast with the data and methods used to conduct product comparisons under this regulation. The company reportedly explained that all varieties of Special K porridges contained 5.5 percent fat or less, whereas the top 75 percent of porridge products on the market contained an average fat content of 7.84 percent. “Kellogg also pointed out than none of the products included in the comparison had a fat content of 5.5% or less,” noted ASA. “They believed that the voice-over and super clearly explained the basis of the comparison by stating that the product had at least 30% less fat than the average fat content of most porridge products on the market.”
Although ASA agreed that the products selected as the basis of the comparison “were in the same category of food and were therefore ‘alternatives for consumption,’” the authority ultimately upheld the complaints on two grounds. First, the ruling found that the comparison did not include enough products to show “the range of fat content within the food category ‘porridge,’” noting that the ones selected “on the basis of market share could lead to porridges with above average fat contents being over-represented.” Second, ASA determined that, contrary to the regulation’s instructions, the comparison did not feature products ready for consumption: “[T]he addition of milk to the dry Kellogg and comparator products would result in a reduction in the percentage difference of fat between the products.”
“Because we had not seen evidence that the comparator products selected were representative of the category, and the comparative claim was based on the fat content of Special K porridge and the comparator products when they were dry and therefore cannot be consumed as porridge, we concluded that the comparative nutrition claim was in breach of the Code,” concluded ASA.