ASA backs Which? over Nutella advertAd watchdog says commercial was misleading

27 February 2008

A spoon of sugar

A TV commercial for Nutella chocolate spread has fallen foul of advertising watchdogs for misleading parents about its nutritional benefits.

The advert showed mothers spreading Nutella on their children’s toast and claimed that each jar ‘contains 52 hazelnuts, the equivalent of a glass of skimmed milk and some cocoa.’

The advert also promoted the spread as part of a balanced breakfast for children.

Sugar and fat

But Which? complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the advert failed to mention the spread is high in sugar and fat.

The ASA said 52 viewers also complained and it has now ruled that the advert was misleading and shouldn't be repeated.

The ASA said: ‘We understood that small quantities of sugar and fat were recommended as part of a balanced diet, but noted Nutella had a high sugar and fat content.

‘We considered that the ad misleadingly implied the spread made a more significant nutritional contribution to a balanced breakfast than was the case.’

'Highly irresponsible' 

Which? food and health campaigner, Miranda Watson, said: ‘We think it is highly irresponsible of Nutella to imply that its spread is healthier than it actually is, especially as the ad clearly encourages parents to give it to their children for breakfast.

‘You would have to eat a whole jar just to get the claimed ‘equivalent of a glass of skimmed milk’. That would also mean consuming over 100g of sugar, even for the smallest jar of Nutella.

‘We are pleased that the ASA has finally agreed that this ad is misleading but this won't help the parents who have been exposed to the ad for months. Food companies must be more responsible with the way they market their products, especially those aimed at children.’

Responding to the ruling, a statement released for Nutella, which is made by Ferrero UK, said: ‘At no stage did we set out to mislead consumers as to the nature of Nutella Hazelnut Spread and we have always been very clear about the ingredients and nutritional information in all of our communications, on all our packs and on our website.’