When it comes to false advertising and Food Company claims, the United Kingdom isn’t messin’ around. Earlier this month, the iconic Nesquik bunny took a kick to the cottontail when the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Agency forced Nestle, the product’s maker, to remove its claim that the beverage is “a great start to the day.”
The agency upheld a claim by the Children’s Food Campaign that claimed the tagline encouraged poor nutritional habits in children.
The advertising watchdog is right, too. A 200-milliliter drink made with 3 teaspoons of Nesquik hot chocolate is packed with 20.2 grams of sugar, and Nestle acknowledges it.
“Because the product was high in added sugar, we considered that the suggestion that Nesquik was a suitable regular breakfast option for children encouraged poor nutritional habits in children,” said the lobbying group.
But Nestle argues that most of the sugar in Nesquik comes from lactose, which occurs in milk. The company adds that the instant beverage contains added vitamin C and D, zinc, and iron.
A Nestle UK spokesman said:
“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.
However, we always listen to concerns when they are raised.
As a responsible manufacturer and to remove any ambiguity in the future, we will no longer use the statement: ‘For a great start to the day!’ in our UK advertisements.”
The Swiss food group also said the Nesquik bunny was “carefully designed to convey a physically active, energetic character who could promote a healthy lifestyle.”
“It is the second time in almost as many years that we have forced Nesquik to change their advertising because it encouraged poor nutritional habits in children and could be seen to mislead parents about the health benefits of such a sugary product,” said coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, Malcolm Clark.
Clark said that the food industry could not be trusted to regulate itself and called on the government to “introduce tougher restrictions protecting children.”