ASA toasts Iceland as the discounter’s frozen ‘artisan’ bread ad is banned

Iceland has had an online video ad, in which it talks up its ‘artisan’ frozen bread range, banned by the ASA for not giving an accurate depiction of the actual quality of the product.

The online video featured the inside of a windmill and an interview with a supposed baker of the Iceland bread inside. He claimed that the frozen foods discounter is “going back to the roots of baking” with the range.

However the ASA considered the depiction of the product’s baking process, which showed the bread being prepared from scratch, including kneading, cutting and shapping the loaves by hand, to be inaccurate.

“Claims such as ‘We want to go back to the roots of baking’, were likely to be understood to mean the products in question were instead produced by hand, before being sold for home freezing and baking, whereas Iceland has admitted that was not the case,” says the ASA.

The complaints, which were from the Real Bread Campaign (Sustain) and one member of the public, also suggested the products included had artificial additives and challenged whether the use of “artisan” was misleading.

In the Power of Frozen ad, Iceland claimed that the range’s stone baked bread was created “only using natural ingredients and the very best wheat, sourdough, water, salt and yeast”.

Iceland responded to the complaint by claiming that the only additives used in the six stone bread products were dextrose and wheat gluten, both of which were also naturally present in flour. “The ingredients were added to ensure that consistent fermentation and structure could be achieved, despite naturally varying flour,” it insisted.

Iceland also argued that despite the products not being made or kneaded by hand, consumers were not likely to be misled into believing the products were produced in a windmill because they would expect such items to be mass-produced.

The ASA, however, hit back: “We understood the stone baked range included additional ingredients, such as dextrose, wheat gluten and vegetable oil. Because the ad suggested the stone baked bread range included fewer ingredients than was the case, we concluded it to be misleading.”

Although the online ad has been banned in its current form, an additional complaint around a press ad – which included images of loaves of bread and stated “Frozen brings you freshly baked artisan bread straight from your oven … #PowerofFrozen” – was not upheld.

The ASA ruled that the print ad did not include any false claims about the production process and made it obvious to consumers that the bread needed to be baked at home before eating and wasn’t “freshly baked”.

Over recent months, Iceland has been trying to appeal to more middle class shoppers through its premium-leaning “Power of Frozen” campaign, which talks up the qualities of frozen food.

“We want Iceland to have a broad appeal at both ends of the market and this new campaign is all about showcasing the range whether that’s basic freezer items or more luxury items that bring in a different kind of customer,” Nick Canning, Iceland’s joint managing director, told Marketing Week back in February.