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UK ad watchdog dismisses complaint against Kellogg

By Jane Byrne , 01-Feb-2012
Last updated the 01-Feb-2012 at 14:58 GMT

The UK advertising watchdog has ruled in favour of breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s in relation to a complaint that a TV advert for a cereal was misleading in relation to its nutritional content.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it investigated the advert under BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (misleading advertising) and 13.4.2 and 13.4.3 (food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims) but did not find it in breach.

The complainant had challenged whether the advert gave a misleading impression of the nutritional and health benefits of the company’s Mini Max cereal because they believed it contained 18g of sugar per 100g.

In its defence, Kellogg's said that Mini Max was not a HFFS food (i.e. high in fat, salt or sugar) and though it did contain 18g of sugar per 100g, they said that a typical portion was 40g which meant that there was only 7g of sugar per bowl.

This represents 9% of a child's GDA (Guideline Daily Allowance), which Kellogg’s argues is in no way 'high' and “far lower than most other breakfast choices”. By way of comparison, the cereal giant highlighted that a banana contained 17g of sugar, a pot of fruit yoghurt 18g and toast and jam had 13g.

Kellogg's added that as well as being low in saturated fat and having no added salt it, Mini Max was also high in fibre, made with wholegrain and was a good source of Vitamin D, iron and six B vitamins.

Fibre content criteria

The ASA noted that as the Mini Max brand contains 8g of AOAC fibre per 100g it therefore qualified as being 'high in fibre' according to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims Made On Foods, which states that qualifying foods needed to contain 6g or more of fibre per 100g.

“We considered therefore that the nutritional claim that the cereal was ‘packed with wholegrain fibre’ was acceptable,” said the UK regulator.

The ASA said it also found the claim ‘a good breakfast will help them get ready to make the most of their morning’ was not a health claim. “We noted it appeared directly after the claim ‘packed with wholegrain fibre’ and we therefore considered it would be read as a general statement about the fibre content of Mini Max,” added the watchdog.

The ASA also said though the cereal contained more than 15g of total sugars per 100g, it said that Mini Max cereal was not a HFSS product.

“We noted that there was 7g of sugar per 40g portion, which we understood to represent less than 10% of a child's GDA of sugar. We also noted that the sugar in the product was clearly visible as frosting in the ad, both on the character representing the cereal and in a close-up shot of the product itself. “

The UK watchdog concluded that the TV advert did not give a misleading impression of the nutritional and health benefits of the cereal and that it made clear the product contained both fibre and sugar.

The advert

A TV ad for a breakfast cereal, seen in November 2011, showed a girl getting ready for school. Whilst holding a pencil and standing on a checklist, an animated piece of the breakfast cereal went through the checklist with the girl ticking off things she needed for the day ahead.

One of the items was described as a 'Mini Morning Maximiser' which the piece of cereal said was him. The girl opened her bag and the cereal walked in to it.

The text at the bottom of the screen stated: 'Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle'. A voiceover then stated 'New Kellogg’s Mini Max is a tasty mini mouthful that's packed with wholegrain fibre and a good breakfast will help get them ready to make the most of their morning'.

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