Warburtons said the claim was verified by a global independent market research company. Its data showed that, for the week ending May 25 2013, the bread maker had the largest market share over 52 and 12 weeks, it claimed.
Premier Foods’s Hovis brand had the second largest market share over 52 weeks and Allied Bakeries having the second largest market share over 12 weeks, the research claimed.
Premier Foods and Allied Bakeries
But Premier Foods and Allied Bakeries both challenged the advert, arguing that it was misleading and could not be substantiated.
The ASA agreed with their complaint and ruled the ad must not appear in its current form. “We told Warburtons to ensure that their comparative claims were sufficiently qualified in future,” said the ASA.
The advertising watchdog reached its ruling after noting that Hovis provided data from its own independent market research sources, which contradicted Warburtons’ data.
“We noted that the data used by Warburtons only included grocery multiples and excluded impulse channels,” said the ASA. “We considered that a significant number of consumers were likely to buy bakery products from independent retailers and convenience stores, rather than, or as well as, at large supermarkets.”
The ASA also took into account that Warburtons’ data did not include freshly baked in-store products that might be available in grocery multiples. A significant number of consumers were likely to purchase freshly baked products rather than, or as well as, wrapped bakery products, it said.
It considered that consumers would interpret the word ‘bakers’ to include a retailer that sold freshly baked products and would not interpret it to mean a retailer that exclusively offered wrapped bakery products.
While Warburtons had not verified the data source in the ad, it had done so in versions of the ad in other media. “We considered that consumers had not been provided with sufficient information to understand the basis of comparison and we therefore concluded that the claim was misleading,” the ASA said.