Advertising watchdog ruling ‘disappointing’: RBC

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

RBC complained the ASA mislead both bakers and shoppers
RBC complained the ASA mislead both bakers and shoppers

Related tags: Bread

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has been accused of failing to protect the bakery industry from misleading information by the lobby group Real Bread Campaign (RBC).

RBC claimed that an advertisement for Bakels’ Artisan Bread Complete sourdough mix had lead non-artisan bakers “to believe that loaves made using this product are artisan bread and, therefore, warrant a premium price”.

The ASA ruled that the ad – which appeared on the Bakels’ website and our sister publication British Baker’s ​newsletter – was not misleading.

That was because “the ad appeared in space specifically targeted to those in the industry”, ​ruled the advertising watchdog.

“This is a significantly different context than if it was to appear to the general public, as those in the industry will have more knowledge about bread and much less likely to be misled,” ​it said.  

While the RBC agreed that genuine artisan bakers would not be misled by the ad, it said wasn’t targeted at them.

Charge a premium’

The campaign group claimed the intention of the ad was to “attract business owners who do not employ genuine artisan bakers but who would like to be able to charge a premium for their products anyway”.

The ASA said the word artisan in the product name would be interpreted by consumers as “artisan-style bread” ​and so they were “unlikely to be misled”.

The watchdog also said it could not comment on the “business practice of bakeries which chose to market this bread as Artisan”.

RBC coordinator Chris Young said: “Artisan bread is made using natural ingredients, specialist knowledge, skills and time, not a corner-cutting packet mix.

“The ASA’s decision not to take action is, at very least, a disservice to both shoppers and genuine bakers.”

‘An easy way’

In the Artisan Bread Complete brochure, md of London Bread and Cake Company David Hall said the ready mix gave bakers “an easy way”​ to enter the sourdough market.

He also said: “The two main barriers of cost and understanding are removed. You can use the existing equipment and you don’t need to know about pH and acidity. It makes artisan breads easy to produce”

The ASA ruled that the ad was not misleading and that no further action was needed.

Meanwhile, further restrictions on advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) to children online moved closer recently, with a plan to apply the same rules to online ads as TV advertising.

A public consultation initiated by the Committee of Advertising Practice will look at whether restriction on the targeting of HFSS food ads at children for TV should be applied to other media.

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