Tesco wrist-slapped for misleading advertising

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 22nd July 2010

UK retailer Tesco has withdrawn an advertisement claiming its bread is baked from scratch in-store following a complaint by the Real Bread Campaign (RBC).

The complaint, which was upheld by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), questioned the authenticity of the retailer’s claim, when it is believed the majority of loaves are cooked from chilled or frozen.

The press ad stated: “Fresh bread. Baked from scratch in our in store bakery. Using 100% British flour. So every single loaf is genuinely British … Born and bread”.

However, small print stated: “Subject to availability. Selected UK stores. British Flour used in all products that are baked from scratch in store as stickered in pack. French Baguettes, batons and products not baked from scratch excluded.”

The RBC challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied the brad was “baked from scratch” in all stores, when it understood only 480 stores baked bread.

It also believed the small print contradicted rather than clarified the headline claim.

In its defence, Tesco stated that bread was baked from scratch in 504 of its in-store bakeries, predominantly in its larger stores, and used part-baked or bread which is finished in the in-store bakery, in 1,288 stores.

Tesco believed that the small print in the ad explained what a “scratch bakery” was and made clear that those loaves were available in selected stores, and insisted that only British flour was used.

In a ruling, the watchdog concluded: “Because we considered that the ad implied that all Tesco stores with a bakery facility baked bread from scratch, which was true of only a limited number of stores, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead.”

The ASA said the ad must not appear again in its current form.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We can confirm that the ads have been changed in accordance with the ruling.”

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