"Virtually fat free" and "now with added nothing" were the phrases that Danone used in an advert for its yoghurt range Shape. Three separate complaints were filed with concern to the wording of the advert. The first was with regards to the now with added nothing phrase, which the authority claimed could lead consumers to believe that the yoghurt contained no additives.
The second concern a claim that the yoghurts were "packed with real fruit" and the third, which was brought to the authority's attention by Danone's rival Muller, argued that the "virtually fat free" did not match up to stipulated dairy industry guidelines.
Danone stated that Shape had no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or colourants, and argued that the consumer would appreciate this exclusion from its products. However, the ASA decided that because the product contains a minimal amount of lesser known additives the advert could lead consumers to believe that the product simply contained fruit and yoghurt.
The second complaint that suggested the yoghurt did not contain real fruit was not upheld. Danone proved that the yoghurts were made with real fruit pieces and fruit puree.
With regards to Muller's challenging of fat content claims, Danone stated that the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 stated that the 'low fat' claim could be used for foods that contained no more than 3 per cent fat and 'fat free' should be used for foods that contained no more than 0.15 per cent fat. Danone argued that as there is no statutory definition of "virtually fat free" and no regulations that defined compositional standards of yoghurts existed, it should have been allowed to use the phrase.
It claimed that the dairy industry guidelines referred to by Muller, the Code of Practice for the composition and Labelling of yoghurt was a voluntary code for the UK.
However, the Authority concluded that the fat content of 0.9 per cent in the advertiser's yoghurt did not justify the claim "virtually fat free".
Danone assured the Authority that the claim would not be used again in any other adverts.