The ad for Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk stated, “It's no wonder toddlers need more than two times the nutrients you do…” and featured a ‘x2’ symbol on-screen.
It was challenged for being misleading but the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), along with the television screener, Clearcast, backed Danone-owned Nutricia.
“We understood that for each of the nutrients listed in the ad, in particular, vitamin D, iron and omega-3, in addition to other nutrients, including energy, protein and other vitamins and minerals, a toddler's daily recommended intake was more than two times greater, per kg of bodyweight, than that of adults,” the ASA wrote.
This was based on reference nutrient intakes (RNIs) from the UK Department of Health report ‘Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the UK’.
The ASA said the ad also featured a caption that stated: "Relative to her size. Based on RNIs".
The voluntary watchdog continued: “Whilst some viewers may not have understood what was meant by ‘RNIs’, we considered it would have been clear from the rest of the on-screen text that the greater nutritional need was relative to their size. We therefore considered that the on-screen text suitably qualified the claim.”
Nutricia based its calculation on DoH weights of 10.5 kg for an 18-month-old female toddler; 60 kg for an adult female and 74 kg for an adult male.
Nutricia was pulled up however in 2009 for overstating the importance of milk as a dietary component in the same Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk.
The ad said two 500ml cups of Growing Up Milk could provide the same iron level as a 20 litre container of milk.
“We concluded that the presentation of the ad was likely to mislead by implying that milk was the most important component of a toddler's diet to consider in relation to providing adequate iron intake, when that was not the case,” the ASA said at the time.
“...the presentation of the ad exaggerated the benefit of the product in the diet and was likely to mislead by suggesting to parents either that not using Growing Up Milk could risk iron deficiency in their children, or by contradicting good dietary advice for young children.”