A regional newspaper advert seen in August this year stated ‘Our new luxury bread is crafted using the finest ingredients and a traditional 16 hour slow dough process creating outstanding full flavour’. It also claimed the bread was ‘Delivered fresh every day’.
Lobby group The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) called the ad misleading and challenged whether or not it could be substantiated.
It argued that Iceland’s claims that the bread had been made using the finest ingredients and using traditional methods were untrue, as the group believed they were made with artificial additives using non-traditional methods.
The RBC also challenged the claim that the bread was delivered fresh every day, because they understood that Iceland used preservatives in the range to extend its shelf-life.
Iceland provided a list of ingredients for each of the luxury bread products, while its third-party supplier confirmed that the bread was made using specifically blended white flour from high quality wheat.
White flour from high quality wheat
It stated that there were improvers added to the bread recipe including ascorbic acid and emulsifiers, but that only two of the 11 products in the luxury bread range contained the preservative potassium sorbate.
Iceland Foods said that its supplier publicly promoted its “slow dough” process. The company stated that the products in the Iceland luxury bread product range were made with a traditional method, where roughly 15–20% of the dough was fermented for 16–24 hours before being added to the rest of the dough to proof before baking.
The retailer also stated its supplier had confirmed that the bread was baked each night so that it was ready to be despatched at 3am.
The ASA concluded the RBC’s claims of the advert being misleading were unable to be substantiated.
The watchdog considered that consumers would interpret the claim “the finest ingredients” as a subjective rather than an objective claim, particularly because “finest” had no defined meaning.
Subjective rather than an objective claim
“We did not consider that consumers would interpret the claim to mean there would be no artificial additives or improvers,” said the ASA.
Considering the RBC’s challenge that the bread was not made using traditional techniques, the ASA ruled that Iceland had substantiated the claims.
The ASA added: “Because bread was baked and delivered when fresh, we therefore concluded that the claim that the bread was ‘delivered fresh every day’ was not misleading.”
No further action was taken by the watchdog.
This challenge by the RBC followed a ban of an Iceland bread advert in 2015, after it complained that the mass-produced frozen loafs had been mistakenly marketed as handmade.
Meanwhile, last month, a TV ad for Heinz Beanz was banned by the ASA for making an unsubstantiated health claim.