The website had tried to answer growing criticisms from health campaigners about the high levels of sugar in children’s breakfast cereals.
Based on evidence from a World Health Organisation (WHO) committee, the website claimed: "A panel of world health experts recently reviewed all the scientific evidence and concluded that a high sugar intake is not related to obesity, or the development of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer.
“Nor was it connected to behavioural problems, such as hyperactivity, in children.”
Advertising watch dog
But the advertising watchdog disagreed. Although the WHO did not show a link between sugar and various health problems, other studies did. The manufacturer was wrong to emphatically claim that there was no connection, it said.
An ASA spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The ruling was based on the absolute certainty of the wording of Kellogg’s claims. If there’s absolute evidence, set in stone with no flexibility, only then should you be making absolute claims.”
A Kellogg’s spokeswoman said that the firm never intended to mislead consumers with information on its Coco Pops website.“We didn’t leave anything out intentionally,” she said.
The firm acknowledged that other studies showed links between sugar in sugary drinks and problems such as tooth decay and obesity. But since it did not manufacture sugary drinks, it decided not to mention those studies on its website.
Another Kellogg spokesman added: “Given the ASA's decision, we will, in future, keep information as broad as possible, even if that means talking about foods we don't make.”
The Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) applauded the ASA’s decision. It accused Kellogg’s of “selectively spinning research for marketing ends”.
Charlie Powell, CFC campaigns director, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “This is a very welcome ruling from the ASA which shames Kellogg’s for its repeated attempts to present its sugary products in a positive and healthy light.
“It is a warning to the food industry that it must stop presenting unhealthy food and drinks as healthy options."
Last month the ASA ruled in favour of Kellogg on a complaint about the use of a cereal superhero on its Krave cereal Facebook page.
The ASA decided that age restrictions on Facebook were stringent enough to prevent children under the age of 16 from accessing the site.
To read the superhero ruling, click here.