The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to uphold five complaints claiming that Nestlé UK Ltd.’s TV advertisements for Nesquick chocolate milkshake “encouraged poor nutritional habits by suggesting the product was suitable to give to children for breakfast on a daily basis.” According to ASA, the complaints described the product as high in sugar and thereby unsuitable for daily consumption. But Nestlé countered that a typical serving of Nesquick milkshake could not “be described as being ‘high’ in sugar” as “46% of total sugar in the product, as consumed, was attributed to the naturally occurring lactose found in milk, and not to the Nesquick product.” In addition, Nestlé explained, the sugar that could be attributed to the product still met World Health Organization guidance stating that Non- Milk Extrinsic Sugars should contribute less than 10 percent daily energy to children’s diets.

“Nestlé also said the new EU Pledge nutrient profiling criteria defined all Nesquick flavors, with semi-skimmed milk, as ‘better for you’ options,” states ASA’s ruling. “A set of common criteria was recently agreed under the EU Pledge for dairy products other than cheese to be classified as ‘better for you’ options, these were: no more than 170 kcal of energy per portion; no more than 2.6 g of saturated fat, and no more than 300 mg of sodium, per 100 ml; and no more than 13.5 g total sugars per 100 ml. Nestlé said Nesquik chocolate with semi-skimmed milk contained 9.9 g total sugar and was therefore well below the upper limit.”

ASA ultimately agreed with Nestlé’s response, noting that the TV ad in question did not suggest that the product “should necessarily be consumed every day.” Even so, the agency “did not consider the level of sugar in the product was so high as to preclude sensible daily consumption,” thus finding the advertisement not in breach of BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 13.2 and 13.3 (Food, food supplements and associated health of nutrition claims). See ASA Ruling, March 27, 2013.