The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled fatigue and metabolism claims for the product Forever Therm were not approved under the European Union nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR). The challenge was brought by Northampton Trading Standards.
FLP argued its claims were adapted from authorised EU claims for vitamins C, B6 and B12 (of which it contained 90% of recommended intakes), but the ASA said there was enough ambiguity in the claim making to ban it, even as it acknowledged authorised claim wording had some flexibility under the NHCR.
“The aim of the rewording was to aid consumer understanding, taking into account factors such as linguistic or cultural variations and the target population,” the ASA said. “Health claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration.”
It said FLP erred because it was not clear which vitamin-specific claims were being employed, rather just fatigue and metabolism claims for the Forever Therm formulation.
“…we considered the overall impression created was that it was the particular formulation and combination of vitamins in Forever Therm which delivered the health benefits, rather than each of the individual vitamins referenced in the ad…We therefore concluded that the relationship between the food and the health benefits had not been made sufficiently clear.”
FLP made the claims on its website that stated: “This carefully created formula contains a special combination of vitamins, including B6 [1.3 mg], B12 [2.4 mcg] and C [75 mg] of vitamin C, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Perfect for anyone who is interested in metabolism.”
Un-F.I.T. for purpose
In another aspect of the ruling weight loss testimonials appearing on www.foreverfituk.co.uk were also deemed to be unauthorised health claims.
There three “SUCCESS STORIES” spoke of a “69-day programme” that delivered specific weight loss results.
FLP said the testimonials were genuine and “designed to educate about the importance of toning, nutrition and fitness, and its focus was on fitness and well-being.”
They said because the testimonials related to a weight loss programme called F.I.T. which promised weight loss of 1.5 lbs per week, rather than just food-focused claims, they fell outside the remit of the NHCR.
The programme included food supplements and meal replacements or just food supplements and a suggested consumption schedule.
“We considered the food supplements and meal replacement foods were presented as the key component of each of the packs. As a result, consumers who viewed the web pages that referred to the three individuals’ weight loss would link those weight loss claims to the food supplements and meal replacement foods,” the ASA said in ruling the claims in breach of its advertising code.
The fact they referred to a specific weight loss rate was deemed unauthorised as well.