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ASA rejects Weetos advertising complaints

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 30-Jan-2013

The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has rejected complaints that Weetos advertisements encourage poor nutritional habits and an unhealthy lifestyle for children.

Five complainants said that Weetabix, the maker of Weetos, encouraged excessive consumption by showing a boy eating the chocolate-flavoured cereal from a large, full bowl at breakfast and then ‘topping up’ with cereal from a small container later in the day.

Weetabix said that the cereal was not a high fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) food as defined by the UK’s Food Standards Agency, and adhered to EU regulations on permitted health claims. The company also argued that given that the cereal was not a HFSS food, the consumption shown in the ad did not reflect poor dietary practice.

Clearcast, an NGO that pre-approves much British television advertising, endorsed Weetabix’s response, saying that the cereal was more nutritious than many other alternatives, and it reiterated that Weetos was not a HFSS food.

The ASA agreed with this, and added that despite eating from a large bowl, the container he ate from later was small. It said that the slogan ‘for breakfast and beyond’ was likely to be interpreted as suggesting Weetos could be eaten as a snack at times other than breakfast, rather than that they should be eaten excessively.

“We therefore concluded that the ad did not encourage excessive consumption or condone poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children,” the ASA said.

The full advertisement can be viewed here .