The campaign group had argued that an advert featuring bread being kneaded by hand misleadingly implied Allinson bread was made by hand.
It had also claimed the use of "wholemeal" was misleading, as was the claim "the bread ... still has no artificial preservatives".
But the ASA disagreed. It said consumers would understand the images of dough being kneaded by hand referred to the history of the company − not current production methods.
It also ruled that the bread contained wheat flour and malted barley flour, which were 100% wholemeal. “We therefore considered that the references to ‘wholemeal’ were not misleading” said the advertising watchdog.
And it rejected a complaint about the bread containing artificial preservatives. “Because the claim referred specifically to preservatives, and we understood that the product contained no artificial preservatives, we considered the claim was not misleading on this point,” said the ASA.
An Allinson spokesperson said: "We welcome the pragmatic conclusion the ASA has made regarding the recent Thomas Allinson advertising campaign. This particular campaign was designed to make consumers aware of the forgotten story of Thomas Allinson and, as with all our campaigns, we took our responsibility to ensure we were honest with consumers and complied with the ASA CAP Code very seriously."
RBC campaign coordinator Chris Young said: “We’re utterly shocked. The ASA claims that it 'is here to make sure all advertisements are legal, decent, honest and truthful.'
"In what way is using photographs of hand-made bread to advertise an industrial product untouched by human hand during its manufacture in any way honest or truthful? If consumers and small, independent local businesses can’t trust the ASA to protect them from misleading advertising, where can they turn?”