Tesco have had their latest burger campaign banned by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), due to “misleading claims”.
Tesco’s campaign focused on the benefits of vegan Plant-Chef burgers, claiming they were better for the environment instead of meat burgers. Tesco used their ads to encourage consumers that by “doing their bit” by choosing vegan burgers, that could “make a difference to the planet”.
Tesco saw their ad run across multiple outlets including social media, television, radio and newspapers, before receiving 170 complaints.
After the ad received widespread criticism, the ASA said that Tesco’s environmental claims were not based on its full life-cycle, and were therefore a breach.
In ASA’s ruling, they said the following:
“A product’s environmental benefit cannot be assumed, and in the absence of robust evidence to support any objective claim, ads that feature such claims are likely to be misleading,”
Tesco responded to accusations by saying that there was “widespread scientific evidence” to support their claims a “swap” to plant-based products could make a difference to or be better for the planet, when compared with the production and consumption of equivalent meat-based products.
Whilst the ASA agreed that such claims were generally accepted amongst the scientific community in regards to the impact meat had to the environment, they said that plant based products could also have an impact on the environment due to possible ingredients included.
They said: “However, we also recognised that specific plant-based products, particularly processed products which could contain a number of different ingredients sourced from around the world, could nevertheless contain ingredients or be produced and transported by methods that had a high carbon or negative environmental impact.
“Notwithstanding the general benefits of plant-based diets in broad environmental terms, it would not necessarily always be the case that specific plant-based products would always be guaranteed to have a lower carbon or environmental impact than specific meat-based products.”
A Tesco spokesman said that they were disappointed by the outcome, adding: “We’re committed to making it easy and affordable for customers to incorporate plant-based meat alternatives into their diets and recipes.”