A magazine ad for a "Slim Pasta" was headed "Zero Calorie Pasta? UK & Ireland's No.1 Best Selling Zero Calorie Pasta, Noodles & Rice*". To the right of the heading there was an emblem that stated "Calories 0 - Net". There was also a circle that displayed text that stated "100% LESS CALORIES THAN WHEAT PASTA".
The ad also featured an image of a range of "Eat Water" products. The packaging of each product shown in the image included the text "Calories 7.7" and "0.4% ... of your GDA per 100g". Further text stated, "Eat Water contains 0g of Carbohydrates per 100g, of which sugar is 0g".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "Zero Calorie Pasta" met the conditions of use associated with the relevant authorised nutrition claim specified in the EU Register.
NAH Foods Ltd stated that the ad had only asked the question, "Zero Calorie Pasta?" They said it had not claimed, "Zero Calorie Pasta", therefore they did not believe that the ad breached the Code.
The ASA noted that the claim "Zero Calorie Pasta?" included a question mark. We also noted that the subheading stated, "UK and Ireland's No.1 Best Selling Zero Calorie Pasta, Noodle and Rice". We considered that consumers would infer that the advertiser was selling zero calorie pasta.
Under the CAP Code, only nutrition claims listed in the Annex of EC Regulation 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims Made on Foods (the Annex), or claims that would have the same meaning to consumers, can be used in marketing communications. We considered that "zero calorie" had the same meaning as the claim "energy free", which was listed in the Annex. According to the conditions of use associated with that claim, the product claimed of must not contain more than 4 kcal (17 kJ) per 100 ml. We understood that the pasta product contained 7 kcal, therefore, in the absence of robust evidence showing that the claim complied with the associated conditions of use, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
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 and nutritional claims).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told NAH Foods Ltd not to make nutrition claims unless they could demonstrate that they had complied with the associated conditions of use.