Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A website, http://the-healthy-insider.com, promoting weight loss supplements was presented in the style of a news article and headed "Flat Belly Green Coffee Diet: Exposed: Really a new miracle diet?" and featured a woman describing her four-week weight loss experience. She explained that she had chosen to combine two products "Green Coffee Maxx" and "Liposom" for her study. Further text stated "Here is what Green Coffee Maxx claimed on their website ... Accelerates Fat Loss, 4 Times More Weight Loss Than Diet And Exercise, Boosts Energy, Potent With Amino Acids ... Most of the success stories talk about combining Green Coffee with a special fortified coffee product to achieve maximum weight loss. I decided to do the same. The idea behind combining the products is that while the Green Coffee Maxx encourages weight loss and increases energy, the coffee speeds up your metabolism and allows your body to work and burn calories more efficiently. I chose Liposom to test. Here is what Liposom claimed on their website ... Helps Eliminate Bad Toxins that have Built Up Over the Years, Removes 'Sludge' from the Walls of the Colon, Helps Get Rid of Gas and Bloating, Helps to Regulate the Metabolism". References throughout the ad to "Green Coffee Maxx" and "Liposom" both directed readers to websites promoting a free trial for the products.
It also featured before and after photos of various women to display their weight loss. Text underneath one image stated "One blogger claims to have lost over 35 lbs in 40 days using the Green Coffee & Liposom combo". Terms and conditions were stated in small print at the bottom of the page that included text that stated "THE STORY DEPICTED ON THIS SITE AND THE PERSON DEPICTED IN THE STORY ARE NOT REAL. This story is based on the results that some people who have used these products have achieved".
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the ad breached the CAP Code, because it referred to a rate or amount of weight loss; and
2. the health claims relating to weight loss were authorised on the EU Register.
DCG Unlimited, trading as greencoffeemaxx.com, did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by DCG Unlimited's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The ad made various health claims that referred to a rate or amount of weight loss. Such claims were not permitted in relation to food or food supplements. The ASA therefore concluded that it breached the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 15.6.6 15.6.6 Health claims that refer to a rate or amount of weight loss. (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims).
The ad made various health claims relating to weight loss, including "achieve maximum weight loss", "encourages weight loss" and "lose a ton of weight quickly". In the absence of evidence that these claims were authorised on the EU Register we concluded that they breached the Code.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications that contain nutrition or health claims must be supported by documentary evidence to show they meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim, as specified in the EU Register. Claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration.
Only nutrition claims listed in the updated Annex of the EU Regulation (as reproduced in the EU Register) may be used in marketing communications.
Only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register, or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer may be used in marketing communications.
http://www.ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/claims/community_register/authorised_health_claims_en.htm. (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutritional claims).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told DCG Unlimited, trading as greencoffeemaxx.com, not to make health claims that referred to a rate or amount of weight loss. We also told them not to make health claims unless they were authorised on the EU Register.