Iceland’s ‘misleading’ bread advert banned

By Alice Foster

- Last updated on GMT

The Real Bread Campaign has welcomed the ban
The Real Bread Campaign has welcomed the ban

Related tags Bread Baking Asa

An Iceland bread advert has been banned because mass-produced frozen loaves were misleadingly marketed as handmade.

The online video advertisement from the retailer showed a baker working in what appeared to be a small artisan bakery inside a traditional windmill. 

The baker mixed, kneaded and loaded dough into a wood-fired oven, before saying: “Our stone-baked breads are made from the best wheat, starter dough, water, salt and an amount of yeast.” 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that this depiction of the baking process was misleading and suggested that the loaves contained fewer ingredients than they did. 

Not ‘produced by hand’​ 

“None of the products in the range, including the stone-baked items, were produced by hand,” ​the ASA said in its ruling published on Wednesday (October 14).

“We told Iceland to ensure their future ads did not state or imply products were subject to fewer processes, or contained fewer ingredients, than was the case.”

The advert, which must not appear again in its current form, was found to breach advertising rules due to misleading claims and lack of evidence to support them.

The investigation by the ASA was sparked by a complaint from the Real Bread Campaign, which pushes for better quality bread in Britain.

‘Great news for shoppers’

Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young said: “This ASA decision is great news for shoppers seeking an honest loaf of real bread and for the independent, local bakeries employing genuine artisan bakers who really do make fresh, additive-free loaves by hand.”

Another campaigner Kath Dalmeny criticised the way that Iceland had shown the windmill, artisan bakery, traditional baker and wood fired oven.  

“They tried to hijack all those good qualities that people love for bread that did not meet those standards,” ​Dalmeny said.

Meanwhile, the ASA investigations team said in May that consumers were likely to associate the term ‘real bread’ with the campaign.

It added: “Therefore any references to ‘real bread’ which related to bread that did not comply with the term as defined by the campaign had the potential to mislead consumers.”

In July 2010, the ASA upheld a Real Bread Campaign complaint over an advert that implied all Tesco stores baked loaves from scratch, even though only a limited number do.

Ruling from ASA

“None of the products in the range, including the stone-baked items, were produced by hand.”

  • Ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

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