Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, one of which was Not upheld. The other was informally resolved after the advertiser agreed to amend or withdraw their advertising.
A TV ad for Heinz Beanz, seen in September 2018, began with two men standing in an office kitchen. One of them, who was wearing gym clothing, said, “I’ve just returned from a high intensity workout, plus a few hours of lifting some seriously heavy weights.” On-screen text stated “Protein contributes to a growth in muscle mass”. The microwave pinged and the other man took out a tub of baked beans. The first man asked, “What’s that?” to which the other replied, “I’m just having some beans”. On-screen text stated “High in protein High in fibre Low in fat”. The final scene showed a tin of Heinz beans next to a plate of jacket potato and baked beans. Text on the screen stated “Good for you, without going on about it.”
Six complainants challenged whether the ad made an implied health claim that eating Heinz Beanz had similar health benefits to exercise.
HJ Heinz Foods UK Ltd said the ad did not imply any equivalence between Heinz Beanz and exercise. They highlighted that the ad did not refer to the benefits of exercise.
Clearcast said that the ad did not state or imply that eating Heinz Beanz was a substitute for exercise; it was merely portrayed as a sensible lunch option which had the benefits of being high in protein and fibre and low in fat. They said that was in juxtaposition to the boorish and obsessive colleague who happened to be boasting about his exercise routine whilst the other character prepared his lunch.
According to Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, which was reflected in the CAP Code, only health claims listed as authorised on the EU Register were permitted in marketing communications. The CAP Code defined health claims as those that stated, suggested or implied a relationship between a food, or ingredient, and health.
The ASA noted the ad featured two men talking about what they were doing on their lunch break. The first man, in gym clothing, talked about his high intensity exercise in an exaggerated and boastful manner while the other man looked slightly embarrassed and casually said, “I’m just having some beans”.
We considered that consumers were unlikely to interpret the ad as claiming that those two activities had the same effect on the body in the way suggested by the complainants. Instead we considered that they would understand the scenario as suggesting that both of those things were beneficial to health in their own way: high intensity exercise because of its various inherent benefits and baked beans because of the general health claim and the specific authorised health claim in the ad: that beans were good for you because they were high in protein which contributed to a growth in muscle mass.
We concluded that the ad was not in breach of the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
Only nutrition claims listed in the updated Annex of the EU Regulation (as reproduced in the EU Register) are permitted in advertisements.
Only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register or claims that would have the same meaning for the audience may be used in advertisements:
www.ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/claims/community_register/authorised_health_claims_en.htm. and 13.4.2 13.4.2 Advertisements 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. Advertisements must not give a misleading impression of the nutrition or health benefits of the product as a whole and factual nutrition statements should not imply a nutrition or health claim that cannot be supported. Claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.