The website for the sparkling water producer DASH, seen in August 2019. The website featured the claim “Funny looking? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. Saves waste? You bet”. Under the title “Our Mission”, text stated “To naturally hydrate the nation and reduce food waste in a fun, sustainable way”.
The complainant, who understood that the sparkling water contained food produce that would otherwise have been wasted, challenged whether the claims that the product saved and reduced food waste were misleading and could be substantiated.
Dash Brands Ltd t/a DASH said they used fruit in their products that due to various circumstances could not be sold on the market either whole or in juices, sauces and jams, meaning that without their involvement the produce would have been wasted. They said that 55% of the produce they used would otherwise have been left to rot on the bush. The other 45% was produce that had been picked and graded but deemed unfit for any market (including juices, jams and sauces) and so sent to the compost heap. They provided a letter from a supplier which confirmed that DASH purchased their surplus production which would otherwise have been left to rot. They also provided videos which showed DASH working with farmers to purchase their food produce. They explained that in one of the videos, the farmer had produced a bigger crop than normal, so DASH sourced their surplus fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste. In the second video, they sourced “wonky” cucumbers from a farm, which had no secondary market (i.e. it could not be used in juices or jams) and so would have been sent to the compost heap.
The ASA noted the ad featured the claims “Saves waste? You bet” and “reduce food waste in a fun, sustainable way”. We considered that consumers would generally understand the claim “food waste” to refer to food that would have otherwise been thrown away or left uneaten at any stage of the supply chain. We understood the complainant was concerned that DASH may have been using “wonky” fruit and vegetables that were deemed too unattractive to be sold whole in supermarkets or shops, but would still be used to produce other items such as sauces and juices, and accordingly would not have gone to waste. However, we understood that the fate of “wonky” fruit and vegetables that were not of a quality that could be sold whole varied depending on the individual circumstances of the crop and wider market factors. While on some occasions it might be sold for use in sauces and juices, in others it would be left to rot or composted, for instance when the farmer did not have a readily accessible secondary market or when selling the crop, to be used in sauces and juices, did not cover the cost of harvesting. In this case, DASH did not use produce that would otherwise have been used in sauces or jams. All of the produce that they used were from farms where that produce would otherwise have been sent to the compost heap or left to rot for the reasons mentioned above. In addition, DASH sourced surplus (non-“wonky”) produce from farms where that produce would otherwise have not been harvested but thrown away because there was no customer for this surplus.. Because DASH used produce that would otherwise have been left to rot or composted by farmers, we concluded that the food waste claims had been substantiated and were not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.