Sports supplements firm MyProtein called out over ‘misleading’ ad claims

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Sports supplements firm MyProtein called out over ‘misleading’ ad claims
Sports supplements retailer MyProtein have fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority rules over “misleading” claims the firm were offering discounts of up to 60% on items during a monthly sale.

Investigations by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) discovered that only 8% of total items were available for purchase at a discount of 60% or higher during a sale back in April.

The ASA argued that consumers were likely to expect a significant proportion of items would be discounted at the claimed maximum discount.

They concluded that the claim “Up to 60% off” could not be substantiated and was likely to be misleading. The ASA ordered the ad, sent via email on 25th​ April 2017, not to appear again in that form.

“We told MyProtein to ensure that they did not make “up to X% off” claims in future unless they held adequate documentary evidence to demonstrate a significant proportion of sale items were discounted by at least the stated maximum percentage.”

In response, MyProtein considered the 8% of items discounted at 60% or more “constituted a significant proportion, given the number of unique items available for purchase during the April sale.“

ASA assessment

In evidence submitted to the ASA, the retailer provided figures detailing 1,796 items, the pre-sale prices and the prices at which those items were offered during the sale and the amount of discount applied.

Of the 1,796 unique items, 145 of those were subject to a 60% discount or higher.

“To assist their customers, the ‘Sale’ section of the MyProtein website could be filtered to show which products were discounted and by how much,” ​they added.

ASA noted that pre-sale prices of all items ranged between €1.10 - €167.20 (£0.99 and £149.99): 1,678 items were priced between €1.10 - €55.70 (£0.99 and £49.99) prior to the sale, and 7.93% of those were discounted by 60% or more.

The authority also found that 112 items were priced between €55.70 - €111.40 (£50 and £99.99) prior to the sale, and 10.71% of those were discounted by 60% or more.

Only six items were priced between €111.40 – 167.20 (£100 and £149.99) prior to the sale, and none of the items in that range were discounted by 60% or more.

“Although we did not consider that the overall distribution of products discounted at 60% or more fell disproportionately in any particular price ranges, we did not consider 8% of the total number of products available during the April sale constituted a significant proportion of the sale items​,” they said.

Health claim headache

The Hut.com Ltd, trading as MyProtein, have had a previous run-in with the ASA this year. In March, a challenge was made to the health claim “Supplementing with L-Glutamine (particularly post-workout) can help to restore amino acid levels that are diminished during your workout.”

This claim was made for a product listing on www.myprotein.com, for L-Glutamine powder and queries were raised as to its status on the EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods.

The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claim as relating to the beneficial effects of L-glutamine on amino acid levels, particularly in relation to helping recovery after exercise.

However, the Authority noted that there were no authorised health claims for L-glutamine, or glutamine, on the EU Register and ordered the ad not to appear again in this form.

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