Meatless food firm's adverts that claimed plant-based diet makes you stronger get banned by watchdog

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A campaign on social media run by Meatless Farm Company has been banned Adverts claimed a plant-based diet makes you mentally and physically stronger It cited cases of a nurse and a fireman, whose lives were apparently transformed ASA said the adverts broke its rules and asked Meatless Farm to not use them

Adverts claiming that a plant-based diet makes you mentally and physically stronger have been banned.

The Meatless Farm Company ran the promotional campaign on social media in October claiming its products would ‘unleash your beast within’.

It cited the cases of a 40-year-old nurse and a 52-year-old fireman as two customers whose lives were apparently transformed.

But the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, a quango which answers to the Department of the Environment, made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that the adverts did not comply with industry codes. 

The Meatless Farm Company's promotional campaign on social media, which claimed its products would 'unleash your beast within', has been banned

The Meatless Farm Company’s promotional campaign on social media, which claimed its products would ‘unleash your beast within’, has been banned

The board argued that the type of claims made by the Meatless Farm Company should have been supported by scientific evidence or have been approved by a health charity or a national medical or nutritional organisation.

After reviewing the complaint, the ASA agreed that the adverts broke its rules and requested Meatless Farm to no longer use them and remove any in circulation.

Two Facebook ads for Meatless Farm products contained the claim: ‘Stronger, both mentally and physically he puts his good health down to his plant-based diet.’

The promotion added: ‘Going plant-based has helped nurse Anne boost her energy and improve her mental and physical health. 

‘It is no longer a secret that a plant-based diet has a positive influence on your wellbeing.’ 

The ASA said its regulations ‘state that claims which refer to the general benefits of a nutrient or food for overall good health or health-related well-being (‘general’ health claims) are only acceptable if accompanied by a relevant authorised health claim’.

Earlier this year, the ASA contacted Oatly over a campaign that claimed 'global livestock emit more greenhouse gas emissions than all transport'. Oatly subsequently corrected the claim

Earlier this year, the ASA contacted Oatly over a campaign that claimed ‘global livestock emit more greenhouse gas emissions than all transport’. Oatly subsequently corrected the claim

Earlier this year, the development board contacted oat milk maker Oatly over a campaign that claimed ‘global livestock emit more greenhouse gas emissions than all transport combined’. Oatly subsequently corrected the claim.

Phil Maiden, media chief for the board, said: ‘Advertising rules are there to ensure fairness and transparency for consumers, in which AHDB takes an enormous amount of time and effort to ensure compliance.’

The board itself faced a barrage of 487 complaints when it ran an ad campaign in favour of meat and dairy in January. 

Calling on consumers to ‘eat balanced’, the adverts said: ‘Red meat and dairy are a source of B12 and protein. B12 helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. 

‘Protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.’ 

The ASA did not uphold the complaints.

Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said: ‘The choice to go plant-based is a personal one, but the firms promoting it need to play by the rules and be honest about their product. 

‘Fictional benefits seem to be a common theme in marketing meat substitutes.’

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