Consumer group complains about Nutella ad

By Karen Willmer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Marketing Ferrero

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has received a complaint
from the UK's consumer association over the way Nutella
chocolate spread is being marketed to children.

The complaint by Which? is part of the regulatory and consumer crackdown on the way food manufacturers are marketing products to children.

Concerns about the rising rates of obesity are driving companies to adjust their marketing strategies to children, with the threat of future regulatory controls always in the background.

Nutella manufacturer, Ferrero, claims in the advert that the product contains "52 hazelnuts, the equivalent of a glass of skimmed milk and some cocoa".

Which? said the advert ignores the high fat and sugar content of the spread by focussing on more insignificant ingredients that are more likely to appeal to consumers.

"We believe the advert is misleading to parents as it promotes the spread as part of a balanced breakfast for children," Which? said last week.

Which? claims the advert ignores the fact the main ingredients are sugar and vegetable oil, giving a "false impression" of the nutritional benefits of the spread, and therefore breaching the Television Advertising Standards Code.

"This is yet another example of the way that some food companies persist in marketing foods aimed at children irresponsibly," said Which?'s chief policy advisor Sue Davies.

"We think it is misleading to tell people about the hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa, but not mention that it's more than half sugar."

Davies suggested you would have to eat a whole jar of Nutella to consume the mentioned ingredients, which is also the equivalent of consuming over 100g of sugar.

However, Ferrero claim the recommended serving of Nutella is "clearly communicated" to consumers via the product packaging and the website.

"We do not believe the Nutella as is misleading as eaten in the recommended portion size Nutella, which is a hazelnut rather than chocolate spread, can be a good component of a balanced breakfast," Ferrero said in a statement.

The company claims the 15g portion size contains 80 calories, 4.7g of far and 8.3g of sugar.

"In fact, the amount of fat and sugar in Nutella is less than many other typical breakfast spreads such as peanut butter, jam and marmalade and using Nutella removes the need for butter or alternative fat spread," the company added.

An investigation has been launched to follow over 20 complaints about the spread, the ASA has said.

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