Leche Pascual wins 'yoghurt' ad battle

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Related tags: Leche pascual, Yoghurt

Spain's long-running yoghurt battle took another twist this week
when the country's advertising regulator quashed a bid by the
Spanish Yoghurt Manufacturers' Association (AEFY) to stop the Leche
Pascual dairy from using the term 'yoghurt' on adverts for one of
its long-life dairy products, writes Chris Jones.

Leche Pascual has been fighting a lengthy, and frequently bitter, battle with the organisation - and primarily with its biggest member, French group Danone - over the right to use the name 'yoghurt' on long-life products which have been pasteurised - in other words, which do not contain the live culture which create the yoghurt in the first place.

The latest skirmish surrounded an advertising campaign by Pascual which compared the advantages of what it called 'long-life yoghurts' compared to 'short-life yoghurts', which it claimed was not as versatile because of the need to keep it chilled. Pascual also referred to its yoghurts as offering 'lasting heath'.

The AEFY objected to all these suggestions, and brought the case before the country's advertising authority.

But the regulators disagreed with the association's claims that Leche Pascual's terminology was misleading. The expression 'long-life yoghurt' was found to be perfectly legitimate by the authority, as it was widely used to describe the type of product advertised by Pascual. The same was also true of 'short-life yoghurt', the regulator said, dismissing the AEFY's contention that the term was pejorative.

The term could legitimately be used to distinguish between pasteurised, long-life products and non-pasteurised products which subsequently had a shorter shelf life.

The other elements of the campaign to which AEFY objected - the 'lasting health' claim and the alleged denigration of short-life products - were also found to be perfectly legitimate by the regulator.

Pascual's bid to use the name yoghurt for its products has been fought at nearly every turn by Danone. For example, when the French group failed to win legal backing for its bid to stop Pascual from using the name (the Spanish authorities finally agreed to the use of yogur pasteurizado​, replacing the postre lácteo​ or dairy dessert), it took a different tack, attempting​ to block Pascual's attempts to register itself as a yoghurt producer with Fenil, the Spanish dairy industry association by forcing through a new definition of yoghurt, restricting its use to products containing only live cultures.

Pascual, for its part, contends that since its products are made using the same active bacteria - Streptococcus thermophilus​ and Lactobacillus bulgaricus - as many 'live' yoghurts and that the chemical and nutritional qualities of the pasteurised products are identical, then there is no reason why it should not use the name yoghurt for its products - and therefore take advantage of all the positive connotations associated with the word.

Related topics: Markets, Yogurt and Desserts

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