Arla ‘good for the land’ ad falls foul of ASA

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Organic products may be good, but the ASA has ruled Arla can't say organic dairy farms are good for the land.
Organic products may be good, but the ASA has ruled Arla can't say organic dairy farms are good for the land.

Related tags: Organic farming, Milk, Agriculture

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has ruled an Arla Foods Ltd ad that appeared in a local newspaper in November 2016 was misleading and cannot be run again.

In the ad for organic farm milk, Arla included text that stated “Good for the land” as well as smaller text that read “helping support a more sustainable future.”

A single complaint was received about the ad, on the basis that dairy farming was not good for the land. The complainant challenged whether the claim “Good for the land... helping to support a more sustainable future” was misleading.

Arla points to organic practices

In its response to the ASA, Arla Foods said that the advert referred to an organic product and organic farming methods.

It stated one of the key principles of organic farming was good treatment of the land and that sustainability was at the heart of organic farming, which included the both the use of renewable and the protection of non-renewable resources.

The company also noted all its farms were certified as organic by relevant independent associations.

Arla also said it took steps across its business in relation to the environment and sustainability, and that the impact on the environment was considered in every step of the production process.

No positive impact on environment

However, the ASA believed consumers would interpret the claim “Good for the land… helping to support a more sustainable future” to mean that the production of the advertized organic farm milk was undertaken in such a way that it would have an overall positive impact on the environment, taking into account its full life cycle.

The ASA said it acknowledged Arla had provided evidence regarding the organic farming methods used and that they believed this was more sustainable than non-organic farming.

However, the ASA did not consider Arla had substantiated that organic milk production had an overall positive impact on the environment, taking into account its full life cycle.

It therefore breached the CAP Code rules on misleading advertising, substantiation and environmental claims.

The ASA ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form, and the authority told Arla Foods Ltd to ensure it did not make environmental claims about their products unless there was sufficient substantiation.

An Arla spokesperson told DairyReporter, “The ASA ruling refers to an ad that appeared in November 2016.  The ‘Good for the land’ line reflected that one of the key principles of organic farming is ensuring good treatment of the land. According to the Soil Association, organic farming methods offer the best, currently available, practical model for addressing climate-friendly food production.

"We are disappointed by the decision but we will respect the ruling and have no intention to reuse the specific advert.”

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