Nesquik Under Fire for Misleading Health Claims

A great start to your day? Not so much, rules the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

Children’s Food Campaign files complaint towards ad that might encourage poor eating habits for children.

Not so fast, Nesquik. The Nestlé brand was challenged by a complaint filed by the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding ads on Asda brand milk labels for Nesquik hot chocolate, according to FoodNavigator. The ad in question features the Nesquik bunny stirring a hot chocolate and reads, “For a great start to the day!” and a “Nutri-Start” shield featuring vitamin D, zinc, and iron. 

The ASA upheld the CFC’s complaint. It ruled that, because of the high sugar content of Nesquik, 20.3g of sugar in a 200 ml serving, the slogan “For a great start to the day!” is unauthorized under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR). Concern was also raised in regard to the Nesquik bunny’s appeal to children which could result in poor eating habits as a result of the high sugar content.

Disappointed with the ruling, a spokesperson for Nestlé U.K. told FoodNavigator, “The advert for Nesquik Hot Chocolate shown on the label of a family-sized bottle of milk was undoubtedly targeted at adults who were shopping for their family, making it clear that the product should be consumed over a number of days, rather than in excess. We therefore do not believe the advert encouraged poor nutritional habits in children.” Nesquik has since stopped using the statement “For a great start to the day!” in its UK advertisements.

According to CFC coordinator Malcolm Clark, this is not the first time Nesquik has been forced to change their advertising because of misleading claims. Clark says, “Without stronger rules, more quickly enforced and with higher penalties for repeat offenders, there is little incentive for companies to improve their marketing practices. The government should no longer leave marketing rules to the hands of industry and advertisers, but take a stronger lead in its forthcoming obesity strategy and introduce tougher restrictions protecting children.” Clark calls supermarkets to action to take responsibility for the kinds of food that goes on their shelves, following Tesco’s lead

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