Quorn ad banned for misleading claims about carbon footprint

Spot received 32 complaints.

The advertising watchdog has banned an ad for a Quorn product claiming it could help reduce a person's carbon footprint.

The film for Quorn Thai Wonder Grains aired in April and received 32 complaints. It shows a woman eating the product at her office desk who says: "Quorn Thai Wonder Grains is a step in the right direction because it helps us reduce our carbon footprint and that's got to be good."

On screen, text added: "Quorn Wonder Grains. Awarded carbon reduction footprint certification by the Carbon Trust for the full life cycle of the product. See Quorn.co.uk/TV for details."

It was made by Mawhinney Collins and produced by Outsider and Shaw Productions.

The complainants questioned whether the product could help a person's carbon footprint and whether claims about a beneficial effect on climate change were misleading.

Quorn owner Marlow Foods' response said that Thai Wonder Grains was certified by the Carbon Trust as "cradle to grave" for its full lifecycle.

It added that, as this is a new product, there is no recertification figure, but by signing up to the carbon footprint protocol the company had a continued commitment to reduce carbon emission on the product – meaning that over time the product would help people reduce their carbon footprint.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority said that this was not clear in the spot. The body said: "Viewers would interpret the claim as a comparison against one or more other, similar, products, such that by choosing to buy a Quorn Thai Wonder Grains pot over a different product, consumers could reduce their carbon footprint immediately.

"In addition, we noted that, because the Thai Wonder Grains pot was a new product, it was not possible to demonstrate a reduction in its footprint, and the certification for that product related only to Quorn's commitment to reduce the footprint over time. We did not consider this was clear from the ad."

Quorn began marketing itself on its sustainability credentials in January, having previously used mainly health-focused messaging. 

Earlier this month, the brand appointed Adam & Eve/DDB to its global creative account.

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