Real Bread’s Tesco complaint upheld

 - Published:  21 July, 2010

Tesco has had to withdraw an advertisement about its in-store bakeries after a complaint by the Real Bread Campaign was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA upheld the complaint that a magazine advertisement for Tesco in-store bakeries breached the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code’s clause on truthfulness, meaning the advert must not appear again in its current form.

A spokesperson for Tesco confirmed that “the ads have been changed in accordance with the ruling”.

The main text in the advertisement read: “Fresh bread. Baked from scratch in our in-store bakery. Using 100% British flour. So every single loaf is genuinely British... Born and bread,”. However, Tesco only bakes loaves from scratch in 504 of its 2,362 UK stores, according to figures supplied by the supermarket in response to the complaint.

The small print on the advertisement read: “Subject to availability. Selected UK stores. British Flour used in all products that are baked from scratch in-store as stickered in pack. French Baguettes, Batons and products not baked from scratch excluded.”

The RBC challenged whether firstly, the advert was misleading, as Tesco does not bake bread from scratch in all its in-store bakeries, and secondly, whether the advert was misleading because the claim “Baked from scratch in our in-store bakery. Using 100% British flour” did not apply to all loaves and they believed the small print contradicted rather than clarified the headline claim.

The ASA upheld the first complaint on the grounds that the CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness) had been breached. According to the ASA: “The ad implied that all Tesco stores with a bakery facility baked bread from scratch, which was true of only a limited number of stores. We concluded the ad was likely to mislead”.

In regards to the second complaint, the ASA investigated the advert under CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 and 7.2 (Truthfulness) but did not find it in breach.

“We believe that this ruling sends an important message to unscrupulous advertisers: if you plan to hide or distort the facts in an attempt to draw customers away from small, independent bakeries that make an honest living, baking honest loaves, the people of Britain won’t stand for it,” commented the Real Bread Campaign working party chair Iain Loe.

The full complaint, and the ASA adjudication can be found at: www.realbreadcampaign.org


* Final Adjudication:

Assessment

Complaint 1. Upheld

“The ASA understood that “bake-off” loaves were baked at another site then chilled or frozen, and finally re-baked or “finished” on the premises. In contrast, “scratch bakery” loaves were prepared and baked freshly from base ingredients on site. We considered that the claim “Fresh bread. Baked from scratch in our in store bakery. Using 100% British flour. So every single loaf is genuinely British... Born and bread” was likely to be interpreted by readers as meaning that all Tesco stores with an in-store bakery baked their loaves from scratch. We understood that most Tesco stores had a bakery facility but that only 504 stores baked bread “from scratch.” Because we considered that the ad implied that all Tesco stores with a bakery facility baked bread from scratch, which was true of only a limited number of stores, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness).

Complaint 2. Not upheld
We understood that speciality breads were not baked solely from British flour, nor were they baked from scratch, and were excluded from the overall claim. We considered that readers would expect that some foreign speciality loaves, such as French baguettes, would be excluded from the claim and noted the ad stated in the small print “French Baguettes, Batons and products not baked from scratch excluded” which made consumers aware of that fact. We understood that non-speciality loaves, irrespective of whether they were “scratch bakery” or “bake-off” products, were made from 100 percent British flour. We noted the ad stated “Baked from scratch in our in store bakery. Using 100% British flour” and understood that it was indeed the case that all bread baked from scratch was made using British flour. We therefore considered that the small print did not contradict the headline claim and concluded the ad was unlikely to mislead on that point.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 and 7.2 (Truthfulness) but did not find it in breach.

Action
The ad must not appear again in its current form.




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