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ASA Adjudication on J Sainsbury plc

J Sainsbury plc t/a Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd

33 Holborn


17 December 2008





Number of complaints:




Complaint Ref:



A TV ad for Sainsbury's showed rotating bubbles, each containing one of the following: baking potatoes, kiwi fruit, onions, plums, and a packet of vegetable stir-fry. The bubbles were shown alongside other bubbles which contained the text "Basics" and "55p." Voice-over stated "Right now at Sainsbury's, get on your way to five-a-day for the amazing price of 55p - healthy food, healthy deals." On-screen text stated "Selected stores & availability."


Two viewers, one of whom was a registered dietitian, challenged whether the ad was misleading for suggesting that potatoes counted towards the "five-a-day" target for eating fruit and vegetables.



Sainsbury's said they believed the voice-over clearly stated that the fruit and vegetables included in the ad would get you "on your way to five-a-day," not that the range would satisfy the Government's recommendation of five portions or fruit and vegetables per day. They said the ad was not designed to be educational but to alert viewers to the reduced price of the range during the promotional period. They said the 55p price stated in the ad was the price per item, which they believed carried the implication that viewers needed to consume other fruit and vegetables to satisfy the government's recommendation. They said the ad also made no reference to portion size, which they believed was normally an important part of the "five-a-day" message.

Sainsbury's said that, while they did not believe the statement "get on your way to five-a-day" was a health claim, they nevertheless took their role as a responsible retailer seriously and made efforts to educate the public in healthy eating. They said information leaflets written by dietitians and nutritionists were available in-store and from their website which explained, among other things, that potatoes did not count towards the Government's "five-a-day" recommendation. They also said logos used on their food packaging and recipe cards stated how many portions of fruit or vegetables were obtained per portion. They said the logo did not appear on potatoes.

They said they did not believe the ad made any claim about the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables and that the voice-over, while making the reference "get on your way to five-a-day ...," did not in itself suggest that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables was a healthy thing to do.

Sainsbury's said they had no plans to use the ad again.

Clearcast said they had interpreted the claim "get on your way to five-a-day ..." as about helping people reach their "five-a-day" target and encouraging them to eat more fruit and vegetables. They said they believed the claim referred to going in the right direction but was not a prescriptive instruction that consuming the items shown would achieve the "five-a-day" recommendation.



The ASA noted that the ad showed a range of products, some of which would count towards the Government's "five-a-day" recommendation and some of which would not. We noted that Sainsbury's in-store and website information stated that potatoes did not count towards the Government's "five-a-day" campaign. We considered viewers were likely to recognise the reference to the Government's "five-a-day" campaign and the campaign's message that eating fruit and vegetables contributed to a healthy diet. We noted that the other items shown in the ad would all count towards the Government's "five-a-day" recommendation but that the voice-over "get on your way to five-a-day" coincided with the bubble that showed the baking potatoes. We considered that to show potatoes in combination with fruit and vegetables that would count towards the Government's "five-a-day" recommendation, and for the voice-over "get on your way to five-a-day" to coincide with the shot of the potatoes, could suggest to some viewers that potatoes, in common with the other items shown, contributed to the "five-a-day" target. Because potatoes and other, related vegetables were classified as starchy foods, they did not count towards the Government's "five-a-day" recommendation. We therefore concluded the ad could mislead.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence) and 8.3.1(a), (b) and (d) (Accuracy in food advertising).


The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)

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