An Instagram post and a Facebook post for Ramsay’s Gin:
a. The post on Ramsay’s Gin’s Instagram page, dated 20 March 2022, featured an image of a bottle of Ramsay’s Gin with text which stated, “GORDON RAMSAY X EDEN MILL […] Honeyberries form the botanical foundations of Ramsay’s Gin. Our Honeyberries are grown in fields a few miles away from the distillery in Cupar. Here, the farmer follows a philosophy of natural growth meaning the Honeyberries retain the rich flavours and micro-nutrients that come from Scotland’s wonderful terroir. With more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges and a flavour like a mixture of blueberry, plum and grape, these might be the tastiest Honeyberries in the world! …”.
b. The post on Ramsay’s Gin’s Facebook page, also dated 20 March 2022, was the same as ad (a).
The ASA challenged whether the claims “Honeyberries retain […] micro-nutrients” and “with more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges” were nutrition claims that were not permitted for alcoholic drinks.
Eden Mill Distillery St Andrews t/a Ramsay’s Gin said the ads had been posted only once, had been deleted and would not be used again in any form or across any channel. They said they had not previously distilled with Honeyberries and excited by the opportunity to work with Gordon Ramsay, they neglected to conduct their usual due diligence. They explained that, at the time, their business was undergoing significant change, which would have had a degree of influence on the ads not being caught by their usual due diligence. They said the company owners, marketing team and head distiller had all been briefed on the complaint and they provided an assurance that it would not happen again.
The CAP Code required that only nutrition claims authorised on the Great Britain Nutrition and Health Claims register (the GB NHC Register) were permitted in marketing communications. A nutrition claim was defined as any claim which stated, suggested or implied that a food or drink had particular beneficial nutritional properties due to the number of calories, nutrients or other substances it contained, did not contain, or contained in reduced or increased proportions. Comparative nutrition claims must meet the conditions of use associated with the permitted claim and must compare the difference in the claimed nutrient to a range of foods of the same category. The CAP Code further required that the only permitted nutrition claims that could be made in relation to alcohol were “low alcohol”, “reduced alcohol” and “reduced energy”.
The ASA considered the claim that the Honeyberries in the product “retain […] micro-nutrients” would be understood by consumers as meaning that due to the Honeyberries in it, the product had the particular beneficial nutritional property of containing a range of micro-nutrients. We considered the claim was therefore a nutrition claim for the purposes of the Code. However, the generalised claim “contains micro-nutrients” was not authorised on the GB NHC Register, and in any case it was not permitted to make a “contains [name of nutrient(s)]” nutrition claim in relation to alcohol.
We considered the claims that the product contained “more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges” would be understood by consumers as a favourable comparison between the nutrient content of the product and the fruits listed. The claims were therefore “increased [name of nutrient]” claims relating to antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C. We considered that alcohol and fruit did not fall into the same food category, and in any case it was not permitted to make an “increased [name of nutrient]” claim in relation to alcohol.
While we welcomed the action Ramsay’s Gin had taken to withdraw the ads, because the claims “retain […] micro-nutrients” and contained “more antioxidants than blueberries, more potassium than bananas, more vitamin C than oranges” were nutrition claims that were not permitted for alcoholic drinks, we concluded the ads breached the Code.
Ads (a) and (b) 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 applicable register. Claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration.
Only nutrition claims listed in the applicable register may be used in marketing communications.
Only health claims listed as authorised in the applicable register, or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer, may be used in marketing communications. and 15.3 15.3 Comparative nutrition claims must compare the difference in the claimed nutrient to a range of foods of the same category which do not have a composition which allows them to bear a nutrition claim. (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims) and 18.17 18.17 Marketing communications may give factual information about product contents, including comparisons, but must not make any health, fitness or weight-control claims.
The only permitted nutrition claims are "low-alcohol", "reduced alcohol" and "reduced energy" and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer. (Alcohol).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Eden Mill Distillery, St Andrews t/a Ramsay’s Gin not to make non-permitted nutrition claims about alcoholic drinks.