On December 31, 2014, the ASA upheld a complaint made by the Children’s Food Campaign that challenged the claim ‘honey goodness’ because it was a general health claim not accompanied by a specific authorized health claim.
Under EC Regulation 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods, any references to general benefits of a nutrient or food must be accompanied by a specific authorized health claim.
The ASA ruled that such advertising on its website must be pulled.
Multi-million brand revamp
Halo Foods said the purpose of the ‘goodness’ claim had been to communicate the increased amount of honey – 20% more – in its product as part of a multi-million revamp kick-started in November last year.
However, Halo Foods has since removed any reference to ‘goodness’ on the site, acknowledging there was never an intention to make specific health claims associated with honey. The company added, though, that it would continue to communicate the honey content of its cereal to enable consumers to make informed choices.
The rap on the knuckles comes just months after Halo Foods reduced the book value of its Honey Monster cereal by €10m, in November last year. The manufacturer wrote down the value amid a stagnant UK breakfast cereal category in which overall profitability had declined and volumes were down for its cereal brand.
ASA 2014 cereal rulings
Last year saw a handful of ASA rulings against breakfast cereal companies, many around ‘misleading’ health or nutrition claims.
In September 2014, the ASA banned Kellogg UK’s ‘30% less fat’ Special K porridge ad because of misleading comparative nutrition claims.
Just one month earlier, Cereal Partners UK – a joint venture between Nestlé and General Mills – was told to alter or remove its advert for Honey Nut Shredded Wheat due to ‘no added sugar’ claims that were also ruled as misleading.