A complaint regarding an advert for Green & Black's organic chocolate has not been upheld by the UK's Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). A consultant in oils and fats objected to a poster that stated: "You'll notice our chocolate tastes different, that's because we use cocoa butter instead of vegetable fat."
Text at the bottom of the poster stated: "Ah. That's what chocolate's supposed to taste like."
The complainant felt that the poster was misleading, claiming that cocoa butter was a vegetable fat itself and is similar to many vegetable fats from tropical countries.In addition, the complainant felt that the advert implied that other manufacturers, whose chocolate tasted different to the advertisers', added a non-cocoa butter vegetable fat to their chocolate.
The complainant also felt that the vegetable fat content of chocolate did not affect taste.
The ASA stated that the first complaint was not being upheld for a number of reasons. Firstly, the association said that in the chocolate industry, cocoa butter and vegetable fats are classified separately. Vegetable fats used to replace cocoa butter in chocolate are known as cocoa butter alternatives (CBAs).
The authority understood from the Food Standards Agency that legislation required cocoa butter and vegetable fats to be labelled as separate ingredients on chocolate. The authority therefore considered that the advertisement was not misleading.
However, the ASA did uphold one complaint.The advertisers asserted that most chocolate consumed in the UK contained CBAs and that their chocolate tasted different from other manufacturers' chocolate. They stated that they had no evidence that showed the proportion of chocolate sold in the UK that contained CBAs but argued that manufacturers in the UK used up to 5 per cent CBAs in their chocolate as standard practice.
The authority noted the advertisers' dark chocolate and milk chocolate contained no CBAs. The authority understood, however, that although many of their competitors' milk chocolate products contained CBAs, most of their competitors' dark chocolate contained cocoa butter and no CBAs.
The authority considered that consumers were likely to infer from the advertisement that no other manufacturers' chocolate contained cocoa butter and no vegetable fat. Because some competitors' chocolate contained cocoa butter and no vegetable fat, the authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading.
The ASA advised the advertisers to amend the advertisement with help from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) copy advice team.