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Product: Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (Sweets)
Advertiser: H.G. Ritchie Ltd
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 8.1, 8.4, 8.16(a), 8.16(b), 8.17
The advertisement stated
“Monday, strawberry bonbons. Tuesday after dinner mints. Wednesday chocolate caramel. Thursday wine gums. Friday fruit drops. Saturday dolly mixtures. Sunday ooh milky moo mints. Any day is a good day to have Ritchie’s sweets. remember there is so much milk in a milky mint you can almost hear them (cow sound)”
The complainant said the advertisement listed the days of the week and the different sweets for each day. They said the advertisement did not contain any statement stating that sweet foods should be eaten in moderation. The complainant considered the advertisement implied that sweets should be eaten every day. The complainant felt the advertisement was promoting unhealthy eating habits which was against the Irish Government’s Healthy Ireland Obesity Strategy. (A Healthy Weight for Ireland: Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 – 2025).
The complainant considered that the comment at the end of the advertisement implied that some sweets contained milk, which they felt suggested that the products had some nutritional content, in the way milk did, which the sweets did not have.
In responding on the specific issues raised by the complainant, the advertisers said that having reviewed the advertisement in question they believed it was not meant to cause any distress to customers or members of the public.
The advertisers said that the advertisement was designed to broaden the uptake of their products which are produced at their long-established manufacturing facility in Dublin.
The advertisers stated that all toffees contained up to approximately 20% sweetened condensed milk.
The advertisers stated that the advertisement had been withdrawn and would not be aired again.
Further Information: Following an online search, the ASAI Executive noted on Wikipedia(1) that condensed milk is “cow’s milk from which water has been removed (roughly 60%) and is most often found with sugar added”.
The ASAI Executive research indicated that the latest Food Pyramid published by the Department of Health advised that foods high in sugar should be consumed no more than once or twice a week.(2)
(2) gov.ie - The Food Pyramid (www.gov.ie)
Complainant Upheld in Part
Issue One: Upheld
The Complaints Committee noted that the complainant objected to the lack of a statement that sweet foods should be eaten in moderation. While the Code did not require advertising to contain such statements, the Committee noted the Code requirement that advertisements should not encourage or condone excess consumption. They further noted that the Department of Health’s Food Pyramid did not recommend the daily consumption of sweets. They considered that the advertising, by stating the days of the week in association with a named sweet product had given the impression that sweets could be eaten every day. In the circumstances, the Committee considered that the advertisement was in breach of Section 8.4 of the Code.
Issue Two: Not Upheld
The Committee noted that included in the Code definition of a ‘nutrition claim” was a claim which stated, suggested or implied that a food had particular beneficial nutritional property due to the nutrients or other substances it contained (8.1(a)(ii)).
The Complaints Committee considered that the claim “there is so much milk in a milky mint you can almost hear them (cow sound)” whilst referencing milk per se, had not stated, suggested or implied that the product had any nutritional beneficial properties. In the circumstances, they and did not consider therefore that the advertisement was in breach of the code on the basis suggested in the Issue 2.
Action required: No further action required as the advertisement is not due to air again.