Flora was rapped by advertising watchdogs today for an advert which claimed corn on the cob was ‘healthier’ when topped with its margarine.
The poster and magazine ads misleadingly implied that adding additional fat to a vegetable is better for health than plain vegetables, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Misleading health claims
The advert showed images of one plain corn cob and another with added Flora margarine on top. A caption above the first image said ‘healthy’ while one above the second said ‘healthier’.
Text at the bottom of the advert said: ‘Adding a knob of Flora to your food really is healthier, because it’s rich in heart healthy oils Omega 3 and 6 and low in bad saturated fats.’ Small print at the bottom of the advert added: ‘As part of a healthy diet.’
The Food Commission, Dairy Crest and members of the public complained that the advert was misleading.
No additional health benefits
An expert working for the ASA said there were no additional health benefits to eating fat along with vegetables. She said current dietary advice recommends a reduction in total fat to avoid excess weight, a risk factor for heart disease.
The ASA said it acknowledged that a polyunsaturated spread was likely to be a healthier alternative to butter. But it said the Flora advert ‘…misleadingly implied that adding additional fat to a plain vegetable was better for health than eating the vegetable on its own’. It told Unilever, the company behind Flora, not to repeat the claim.
Responding to the complaints, Unilever said the margarine contained Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats which were good for health. It added that eating small amounts of polyunsaturated fats along with vegetables helped increase absorption of their micronutrients.
Second ruling against Flora
This is the second time that Flora has fallen foul of the ASA. An earlier ruling told Unilever that Flora should not be advertised as a product which ‘helps keep blood vessels healthy’.