The Advertising Standards Authority has issued a ruling on whether an advert for Heinz Baked Beans was in breach of the CAP Code regulating health claims in foods.

In September 2018, an advertisement on the television for Heinz Baked Beans, began with two men standing in an office kitchen. One of them, who was wearing gym clothing, said, “I’ve just returned from a high intensity workout, plus a few hours of lifting some seriously heavy weights.” On-screen text stated “Protein contributes to a growth in muscle mass”. The microwave pinged and the other man took out a tub of baked beans. The first man asked, “What’s that?” to which the other replied, “I’m just having some beans”. On-screen text stated “High in protein High in fibre Low in fat”. The final scene showed a tin of Heinz baked beans next to a plate of jacket potato and baked beans. Text on the screen stated “Good for you, without going on about it.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a number of complaints that the advertisement made an implied health claim in that it equated eating baked beans with the health benefits of exercise.

According to the CAP Code, only health claims listed as authorised on the EU Register are permitted in marketing communications. The CAP Code defines health claims as those that state, suggest or imply a relationship between a food, or ingredient, and health. The Code goes on to say that advertisements must not give a misleading impression of the nutrition or health benefits of the product as a whole and factual nutrition statements should not imply a nutrition or health claim that cannot be supported.

The ASA concluded that the advert was not in breach of the CAP Code. It considered that consumers were unlikely to interpret the advert as claiming that going to the gym and eating Heinz Baked Beans had the same beneficial effect on the body. Instead the ASA considered that consumers would understand the scenario as suggesting that both of those things were beneficial to health in their own way.