A TV ad for Nesquik chocolate milkshake stated "You know, kids only grow up once, which is why they pack their days full of the good stuff. So start theirs with a tasty glass of Nesquik at breakfast. It has essential vitamins and minerals to help them grow and develop, because all this laughing and playing can be hard work." An animation showed the ingredients "VITAMINS D B & C", "IRON" and "MAGNESIUM" next to a glass of the product, made up with milk. On-screen text during the ad stated "Enjoy Nesquik as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle".
The complainants, who understood that the product had high sugar content, challenged whether the ad encouraged poor nutritional habits by suggesting the product was suitable to give to children for breakfast on a daily basis.
Clearcast said, although the ad stated, "So start theirs with a tasty glass of Nesquik at breakfast", they understood the amount of sugar in a single glass of Nesquik was well within the World Health Organisation's (WHO) guidelines for sensible daily sugar consumption. They therefore considered that a single portion of the product could be suitable for daily consumption by children as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
They did not believe the ad suggested it was necessary for the product to be consumed every day, nor did it encourage adults to give children more than one serving per day. Furthermore, because it included the on-screen text 'Enjoy Nesquik as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle', Clearcast felt the ad was unlikely to encourage poor nutritional habits in children.
Nestlé UK Ltd (Nestlé) said Nesquik was primarily intended to be added to milk to make a milkshake drink. It was positioned to consumers as a milkshake mix, prepared by adding three teaspoons (15 g) to 200 ml of semi-skimmed milk. They believed the per-serving information provided more useful information to the consumer than information about the product in its powdered state.
Nestle submitted a detailed table showing the nutrition information for Nesquik. This showed that the sugar content of the chocolate flavoured product was 11.5 g per 15 g of powder, or 14% of a child's Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA). A typical milkshake serving contained 21.2 g of sugar (25% of a child's GDA), which included 9.7 g (11% of a child's GDA) from the 200 ml of added semi-skimmed milk. They pointed out that 46% of the total sugar in the product, as consumed, was attributed to the naturally occurring lactose found in milk, and not to the Nesquik product.
Nestlé did not believe that Nesquik could be described as being "high" in sugar. They were unaware of any scientific or nutrient profiling information that defined a product containing 25% of a child's GDA for sugars as 'high' or unable to bear a nutrition or health claim. They said a prepared serving of Nesquik was classified as amber or medium for sugar intake under the Food Standards Authority Front-of-Pack Signpost Labelling Guidance. Although the nutrient profiling model developed by the Food Standards Authority for Ofcom regulated television advertising to children classified a glass of chocolate Nesquik with semi-skimmed milk as 'HFSS' due to the fact that cocoa naturally contained saturated fat, taking the product above the threshold, the sugar content did not render the product as HFSS.
Nestlé also said the new EU Pledge nutrient profiling criteria defined all Nesquik flavours, with semi-skimmed milk, as 'better for you' options. The Pledge was supported by the European Commission and was designed for the exclusive purpose of defining 'better for you' options in the context of advertising to children under 12 years and reflected international guidelines. A set of common criteria was recently agreed under the EU Pledge for dairy products other than cheese to be classified as ‘better for you’ options, these were: no more than 170 kcal of energy per portion; no more than 2.6 g of saturated fat, and no more than 300 mg of sodium, per 100 ml; and no more than 13.5 g total sugars per 100 ml. Nestlé said Nesquik chocolate with semi-skimmed milk contained 9.9 g total sugar and was therefore well below the upper limit. For the above reasons Nestlé did not believe the product was 'high' in sugar.
Nestlé also commented on the ad's reference to iron, magnesium and vitamins D, B and C. Health claims for these micronutrients, in relation to growth and development and maintenance of bones and teeth, had been positively assed by EFSA under both Article 13.1 (general health claims) and Article 14.1(b) (claims referring to children's development and health) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods.
Nestlé also said the benefits of drinking milk were well known: 200 ml of milk contained 182 ml of water, which was important for hydration. It also contained 7 g of protein, important for growth. Nestlé provided a table showing the percentage of UK Recommended Nutrient Intake figures for 4- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 10-year-olds for the other nutrients found in a serving of Nesquik. They added that the National Diet and Nutrition Survey for 4- to 18-year-old children in the UK showed that, where there was evidence of a low intake of micronutrients, milk and milk products provided the following contributions: calcium (c. 48%), riboflavin (c. 35%), folate (c. 12%), zinc (20%), magnesium (16%), potassium (17%) and iodine (50%). They also added that the British Dietetics Association (BDA) stated in a Healthy Breakfast Leaflet published in 2008, that a glass of milk as a milkshake could form part of a healthy breakfast.
Nestlé believed Nesquik was suitable to be consumed once per day, as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. The ad clearly stated, "Enjoy Nesquik as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle". The children depicted in the ad were seen doing various activites, having fun outdoors, riding bicycles, participating in a school play and helping their parents with cooking. They said the ad did not suggest that everyday consumption was necessary or that more than one serving should be consumed within a one-day period. Nestlé therefore believed that if a parent wished to give their child a serving of Nesquik every day without exceeding the GDA for sugar, it would not be difficult for them to do so: a glass of Nesquik did not preclude sensible daily consumption.
Nestlé considered this view in line with guidance from the WHO’s 2002 report on chronic disease, which stated that Non-Milk Extrinsic Sugars (NMES) should contribute less than 10% daily energy and that the frequency of consumption of foods or drinks containing NMES should be limited to, at most, four times per day. The GDA for energy for a 5- to 10-year-old child was 1800 Calories. The amount of NMES in a glass of Nesquik equated to 2.7 % (12.3 g NMES Strawberry/Banana) and 2.5% (11.5 g NMES chocolate) of a child's daily energy intake. Nestlé said this was not high and the suggestion to enjoy Nesquik once per day was well in line with the WHO guidance.
They also noted that the BDA's leaflet, Healthy Eating for Children, stated that children should have milk, cheese or yoghurt three times a day, e.g. milk as a drink, on breakfast cereal or in a pudding.
In light of the above mentioned benefits of drinking milk, the role that flavoured milks could play in encouraging children to drink milk, the WHO guidance and guidance from other professional and public organisations, Nestlé did not believe that the ad encouraged poor nutritional habits in children.
The ASA noted the ad stated, "You know, kids only grow up once, which is why they pack their days full of the good stuff. So start theirs with a tasty glass of Nesquik at breakfast." However, we considered the ad had not stated that the product should necessarily be consumed every day.
We noted from Nestlé's response that nutritional information was made available on the packaging and the website. We therefore considered that, if a parent wanted to give their child the product every day without exceeding the GDA for sugar, it would not be difficult for them to do so provided that they exercised caution with regard to the child's overall sugar intake.
We did not consider that the level of sugar in the product was so high as to preclude sensible daily consumption. We concluded therefore that the ad did not encourage poor nutritional habits in children.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 13.2 13.2 Advertisements must avoid anything likely to condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle, especially in children. and 13.3 13.3 Advertisements must not condone or encourage excessive consumption of any food. (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.