Radio advertisement stated the following:
“MVO: At Romayos, we're proud of our dedication to fresh food.
Well, here's our freshest offer - Romayos famous fresh fish, with chips, with drink, plus free dip - all for only €7.95.
FVO: Fresh fish and chips, plus drink, plus dip only €7.95?
MVO: Fish it out, all at Romayos 18 outlets.
Romayos.ie - ready when you are.”
The complainant considered the advertising was misleading as the fish was frozen and not fresh.
The advertisers said there were no special requirements regarding the use of the word “Fresh” in either the Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods nor the European Union (Provision of Food Information to Consumers) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 556 of 2014). They said that the product “fresh fish” in question, referred to their menu item “Fresh Cod” sourced both freshly chilled and fresh frozen, dependent on supply chain, and in either instance the cod was fresh.
They said that this product had also been sold in their family and named “Fresh Cod” since 1959 so there was an industry standard in place, which merited the use of the word “Fresh” in order to adequately present the correct product to the consumer. They said the change of the word “cod” to “fish” was done on poetic grounds to create some alliteration in the advertisement, “Fresh Fish”. They said they only sold one type of fish so there could have been no possible confusion between products.
They said their final comment which really exemplified the freshness of their product was that it was cut and battered daily, and cooked to order and never in advance - a truly freshly cooked fish every time.
The ASAI Executive noted that the definition of ‘fresh’ in relation to food, was:
(of food or flowers) in a natural condition rather than artificially preserved by a process such as freezing:
• fresh fruit and vegetables
• fresh fish/meat
• fresh coffee (1)
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee noted that one of the potential supply chain sources for the fish was “fresh frozen”. They noted the definition of ‘fresh’ and considered that consumers would understand ‘fresh’ to mean that the product had not been frozen, not that it was ‘freshly cooked’. In the circumstances they considered the term ‘fresh’ to describe fish when it had been frozen to be misleading and in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The advertisement must not appear in the current form.