Heinz suffers another ASA defeat in the battle for “gainz”

July 2018

It is a regular debate amongst gym goers as to what to eat post training in order to obtain a good amount of protein. The ASA has banned a TV advert for Heinz Beanz for creating the “impression” that beans contain as much protein, fibre and fat as a typical protein shake.

The advert features a man return home after a run and talking about his new health regime whilst drinking a protein shake. A woman in the advert takes some baked beans from the microwave and says in response “Right. We’re just having some beans”. The following words then appear on screen:-

“High in protein. High in Fibre. Low in Fat.”

A can of Heinz Beanz is then displayed with the accompanying text:

“Good for you, without going on about it.”

The ASA previously banned a similar advert produced by Heinz on the basis that it made a direct comparison between baked beans and a protein shake. The advert was then edited to remove the direct comparison. Notwithstanding this, the ASA still considered that the advert insinuated the same comparison and stated:-

“we considered that the overall impression created by the ad was that Heinz Beanz contained as much protein, fibre and fat as a typical protein shake. We considered consumers would therefore interpret the ad as presenting Heinz Beanz as a tastier and more appetising, but nutritionally equivalent, alternative to consuming a protein shake.”

The claim made in the advert was not contained within the Annex to EU Regulation 1924/2006 which lists the nutrition and health claims that can be made in advertisements in relation to on foods. The ASA therefore held that it breached BCAP code 13.4.

The key lesson for advertisers is to be very cautious when making any explicit or implied health and nutrition claims within adverts. It is incredibly popular now for advertisements to emphasis nutritional benefits such as being high in protein. Prior to doing so always check whether the claim is permitted by EU Regulation 1924/2006.

This update was prepared by HGF Legal Director Tom Nener.  If you would like further advice on this or any other matter please contact Tom  or your usual HGF representative, alternatively visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.