Nestlé has been blasted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making bogus health claims.
The ASA has ruled that the Swiss food giant has broken advertising rules by implying its Ski yoghurt is completely "natural" and additive-free, when it includes ingredients which are "artificial or synthetic".
The ASA launched an investigation after a consumer complained about a magazine ad for Ski, which read: "I don’t want pork gelatine, aspartame, locust bean gum, citric acid or potassium sorbate. I just want deliciously simple fruit yoghurt."
Photographs of a Ski yoghurt pot appeared at the bottom of the ad, next to the text, which read: "Keep it simple. No artificial colour, sweetener or preservative."
The complainant argued that locust bean gum and citric acid were natural ingredients and that the ad wrongly implied they were artificial and bad for consumers. The ASA rejected this complaint on the grounds that both are commercially produced by chemical processes and hence cannot strictly be called natural. But the ASA challenged Nestlé’s implication that Ski was free of similar additives. Given that the product includes synthetic flavouring and additives E440 (pectin) and E333 (calcium citrates) – both commercially produced by chemical processes – the regulator concluded that the ads were misleading.
The latest ASA adjudications also include the results of three separate investigations into complaints against Dell Computers, two of which were upheld.
Land of Leather, the furniture retailer, has also fallen foul of the ASA over TV and print ads promoting a 12-hour sale.