A TV ad for Heinz Beanz, seen in February 2018, depicted a man arriving home to his family – a woman and young girl. The man was asked whether he was hungry and he responded, “Yeah I'm on a new regime” before taking a drink from the fridge and continuing, "Dean calls the ‘three Ps’ … This is the last P: Protein, with high fibre and minimal fat.” The woman took some baked beans from the microwave and said, “Right. We’re just having some beans.” The screen displayed prominent text which stated “High in protein. High in Fibre. Low in Fat”, then displayed a can of Heinz Beanz with the accompanying text, “Good for you, without going on about it”.
One complainant challenged whether the ad included a nutrition claim which complied with the Code.
HJ Heinz Foods UK Ltd said that the ad made the authorised nutrition claims that a portion of Heinz Beanz was high in protein, high in fibre and low in fat. They said that the ad had been edited following a previous ASA decision and that it did not make a comparative nutrition claim.
Clearcast did not believe that the ad compared the two food products shown in the ad, or made the claim that the two food products had the same or similar nutritional values. They considered that the ad instead made the authorised nutrition claims that a portion of Heinz Beanz was high in protein, high in fibre and low in fat.
Clearcast acknowledged that the ad which had prompted the ASA decision had similar content, but that in that case the female character, in response to the male character’s description of the nutrition of his drink, said “Same. We’re just having some beans.” Clearcast considered that the changes, including changing the female character’s statement to “Right. We’re just having some beans” changed the ad sufficiently to ensure that viewers would not consider that a comparison between Heinz Beanz and the drink was being made. They considered that most viewers would understand “Right. We’re just having some beans” to mean that the female character was having beans instead of the drink and the associated benefits of the drink.
According to Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods (the Regulation), which was reflected in the BCAP Code, only nutrition claims listed in the Annex of the Regulation were permitted in ads promoting foods. Marketers must ensure the food met the conditions of use associated with the claims in question. EC and Department of Health Guidance noted that the claim “as much as”, or any claim having the same meaning, was considered to be a nutrition claim and as such must be listed in the Annex. However, that claim was not listed in the Annex and therefore such claims were not permitted. The ASA acknowledged that Heinz Beans were able to make the nutrition claims “High in Protein”, “High in Fibre” and “Low in Fat” about their beans.
The ad showed the male character taking the drink out of the fridge before pointing to it and stating, “This is the last P: Protein, with high fibre and minimal fat.” We noted that the drink had a thick texture, and was brown with a lighter white head. The drink was contained in a protein shaker-style flask and was being consumed after what appeared to be an exercise session. Taken all together we considered that consumers would understand that the man was consuming a protein shake that was also high in fibre and low in fat.
We considered that in the context of the man’s statements, the woman’s statement “Right. We’re just having some beans” would be interpreted by viewers to mean that the beans had as much protein, fibre and fat as the protein shake that had just been displayed, particularly as directly afterwards, the text “High in protein. High in Fibre. Low in Fat” appeared next to the bowl of beans. We noted that the ad did not state that Heinz Beanz had greater or fewer nutritional benefits than the protein shake, however, we considered that the overall impression created by the ad was that Heinz Beanz contained as much protein, fibre and fat as a typical protein shake. We considered consumers would therefore interpret the ad as presenting Heinz Beanz as a tastier and more appetising, but nutritionally equivalent, alternative to consuming a protein shake.
The Annex to the Regulation did not include any nutrition claims which would allow marketers to make a claim that one food had “as much” of a nutrient or nutrients as another food. We therefore noted that the claim – Heinz Beanz had the same nutritional benefits relating to protein, fibre and fat as a protein shake – was not permitted.
Because we considered that the ad made a nutrition claim which was not permitted in the Annex to the Regulation, we concluded that the claims were in breach of the Code.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule
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. (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Heinz Foods UK Ltd to ensure they did not make nutrition claims that were not permitted in the Annex to the Regulation.