Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Comparative Nutrition claims

Claims that state or imply that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties because of its ingredients must comply with the criteria for use set down in the Annex (Rule 15.1.1).

Comparative nutrition claims are permitted but the circumstances under which they can be made are heavily restricted, not least because there are only four comparative nutritional claims listed in the Annex. These are "increased [name of the nutrient]", "reduced [name of the nutrient]", "energy reduced" and "light".

Rule 15.3 of the CAP Code sets out the requirements for making a comparative nutrition claim, both in terms of what can be compared and the content required in ads including such claims. Please see “Food: Nutrition claims” for guidance on its application.

Comparative Health claims

As with all health claims, comparative health claims may only be made if they are listed as authorised in the Register and meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim, as specified in the Register (Rules 15.1 and 15.1.1). CAP understands that an example of a comparative health claim would be “Consumption of foods containing fructose leads to a lower blood glucose rise compared to foods containing sucrose or glucose” (please see the Register for the conditions of use).

The ASA investigated the claim "no other food lowers cholesterol more" for a product which was allowed to make the authorised reduction of disease risk claim "Plant sterols have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease". Because the authorised claim did not have a comparative element, and the claim “no other food lowers cholesterol more" was not itself listed as authorised on the EU Register, the ASA ruled it breached the Code (Unilever UK Ltd, 16 October 2013).

See “Food: Nutrition claims”, “Food: Reduction of disease risk claims”, “Food: Health Claims” and “Food: General”.

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