The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has reportedly recommended that Heartland Sweeteners cease advertising its Ideal® sweetener as “more than 99 percent natural,” after finding that the claim could be misleading to consumers. The board, an appellate arm of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system, apparently agreed with the National Advertising Division of the Council for Better Business Bureaus that the message conveyed by Heartland’s advertising is that most of the product’s sweetness comes from natural ingredients, when, in fact, the ingredient responsible for 80 percent of its sweetness is the artificial sweetener sucralose.
The company issued a statement indicating that it “respectfully disagrees with the NARB’s decision and maintains that its ‘more than 99 percent natural’ claim is clear, truthful and not misleading.” Less than 1 percent of the sweetener consists of sucralose. Still, the company has reportedly indicated that it is reviewing its advertising and packaging and will take the board’s decision into account “because it supports advertising self-regulation.” According to a news source, the advertisement review proceedings stemmed from a complaint submitted by Merisant Company, a Heartland rival. See Foodnavigator-usa.com, August 25, 2010.