Included in this issue: FDF response to Queen's Speech; Food and beverage giants pledge to cut trans fats to below 1g per 100g by 2018; Greencore's food-to-go strategy 'is working well' and more...


Food Industry

FDF response to Queen's Speech

Commenting on the Government's Queen's Speech, Ian Wright CBE, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation welcomes the majority of the bills in the Queen's speech but questions the case for the soft drinks levy.

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Food and Drink Federation, 18 May 2016

Food and beverage giants pledge to cut trans fats to below 1g per 100g by 2018

Global food and drinks businesses including General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Nestlé and Unilever have pledged to reduce trans fatty acids to “nutritionally insignificant levels” by the end of 2018.

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Foodnavigator.com, 18 May 2016

Greencore's food-to-go strategy 'is working well'

Greencore's food-to-go strategy is working well, both at home and in the US, claims ceo Patrick Coveney, as the manufacturer posted half-year group revenue up by 7.5% to £691.6m.

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Foodmanufacture.co.uk, 17 May 2016

Premier Foods sales rise

Premier Foods has reported a 3.5% rise in full-year pre-tax profits to £86.1m in the 12 months to 2 April. Full-year group sales increased 0.6% to £771.1m.

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Telegraph, 17 May 2016

New UK advertising rules: tighter or full of holes?

The UK is considering banning the advertising of junk foods to kids in any medium. Restrictions on using characters could however be relaxed provided they are used to push "healthier" products.

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Foodnavigator.com, 16 May 2016

Tyrrells acquires German snack maker

Tyrrells Crisps has bought German organic crisp maker Aroma Snacks for an undisclosed amount – the company's first European acquisition.

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Foodmanufacture.co.uk, 16 May 2016

Aldomak embarks on major expansion programme predicting 50% sales growth

Aldomak which makes tablets, fudge and macaroons is projecting sales of £1.9m ($2.8m) for 2017 on the back of a slew of contract wins and increased activity with existing clients.

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Confectionerynews.com, 16 May 2016

Food firm mergers and acquisitions rise 11%

Food and drink sector mergers and acquisitions (M&A) climbed by 11% in the first quarter of this year, with 51 deals completed, according to business consultancy Grant Thornton.

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Foodmanufacture.co.uk, 16 May 2016

Moy Park profits rise, 'after efficiency savings'

Poultry processor Moy Park has posted underlying profit before tax up by 32% to £14.1m, due to improved efficiency and cost savings, in first-quarter results ended 2 April 2016.

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Foodmanufacture.co.uk, 13 May 2016

Vast majority of MEPs demand legislation on origin labelling

EU politicians have upped pressure - once again - on the European Commission to bring in mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) for lightly processed meat and dairy products in a vote.

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Foodnavigator.com, 13 May 2016

Drinks Industry

Diageo names new chairman

Javier Ferrán, a former chief executive of Bacardi, has been named as Diageo's new chairman. He will replace Franz Humer who will retire at the end of the year.

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Telegraph, 18 May 2016

ASA Adjudications

ASA Ruling on Heineken UK Ltd ("Heineken")

An online competition, where a pair of personalised Converse high-top trainers ("Prize") could be won, was seen on 28 January 2016. In order to enter the competition, consumers were encouraged to submit photos of bottles of Bulmer’s cider. The complaint suggested that the Prize was primarily associated with youth culture and could be particularly appealing to people under the age of 18.

Heineken reported that the market research associated with the Prize suggested the brand's target market was 25- to 35-year-olds and they understood that the brand had a very broad age appeal. Data from a UK purchasing intent survey showed that only 8% of intended purchases came from 15- to 17-year-olds, while the largest proportion came from the 25 to 34 age bracket; this was in line with the Bulmer's brand. Additionally, they also stated that Converse has been an iconic brand since the 1960s, and has been seen on a range of famous figures of varying ages. Whilst the ASA acknowledged the appeal to a younger audience, the ASA also noted that the brand could be traced back to the 1920s with a wider visibility regarding casual footwear from the 1960s onwards. Whilst the precise nature of the survey question was not made clear, the ASA noted that 92% of respondents demonstrating interest in Converse shoes were over 18.

In addition to the above, Heineken also noted that the website on which the ad appeared was age-gated and that the Prize was only available in adult sizes. Heineken also highlighted that consumers had to purchase a bottle of Bulmer’s in order to enter the competition; an act that, in itself, would be subject to the usual legal restrictions and in-store safeguards on alcohol sales. Although it was understood that the web page was accessible to anyone, the ASA concluded that the website was likely to have been accessed predominantly by people who had purchased Bulmer’s cider after seeing the on-pack sales promotions in store. The ASA also noted that as the competition was conditional on submitting a picture of an open bottle of Bulmer's cider, pursuant to purchasing rules, it should not have been purchased by any under 18s.

The ASA concluded that given the prize, and the steps taken to limit access to the competition to over-18s, it was not likely to be of particular appeal to people under 18. The ASA investigated the advertisement under CAP Code (edition 12) rules 18.1 and 18.14 (Alcohol) but did not find it in breach.

AG Comment: Be sure to ensure that any prizes offered are age-appropriate and that you have the relevant market research to support your prize choices. Also, ensure that where prizes are subject to age limitations, that this is clear on all adverts and packaging.

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ASA Ruling on Freixenet UK Ltd

The adjudication concerned two posters and claims on a website for Freixenet Wine (Product) by Freixenet UK Ltd (Freixenet). One poster featured a young couple dancing and the other featured a couple kissing, both including a superimposed Product and the text "Be Freixenet". The Company's website stated "Life by Freixenet Because life doesn’t just revolve about wine (or maybe it does)” and text on the Company's Blog stated "Moments that might be made more fun with a bottle of Freixenet fizz" and "Somehow any moment is made just that bit more fun, just that bit more exciting and crazy, when it’s accompanied with our bubbles. Be spontaneous, be yourself … be Freixenet".

The complainant challenged whether:

  1. The posters breached the Code as they linked alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success;
  2. The claim "Because life doesn't just revolve about wine (or maybe it does)" implied alcohol might be indispensable or take priority in life; and
  3. The claims "Moments that might be made more fun with a bottle of Freixenet fizz" and "Somehow any moment is made just that bit more fun, just that bit more exciting and crazy, when it’s accompanied with our bubbles" implied that the drinking of alcohol was a key component to a successful personal relationship or social event.

Freixenet noted the posters were designed to capture the sense of spontaneity and the fun from a simple moment. They believed the images were not overtly sexual, did not link alcohol with sexual behaviour or imply the couple were not more sexually attractive because of alcohol. Freixenet stated that in hindsight, in regards to challenge 2 and 3, the ad was inappropriate for an alcoholic drink and acknowledged that the claim in complaint 3 might be understood to imply the Product was a key component of a social occasion. Freixenet removed all three claims from their advertising and stated they would not use them again.

The ASA did not find a breach by Freixenet in relation to complaint 1 under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.1 and 18.5 and noted that consumers would see the pictures as moments in the couple's life for which the Product would be a way of celebrating and remembering. However, in relation to complaint 2 and 3 the ASA held that Freixenet breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 18.1, 18.3 and 18.6 (Alcohol) as the claims implied alcohol might be indispensable or take priority in life and that alcohol was a key component to the success of the event.

The ASA stated the ad must not appear again in its current form and to ensure future ads do not imply alcohol might be indispensable or take priority in life or that alcohol is a key component of the success of a social event.

AG comment: Consider what your advert may suggest to the customer and ensure alcohol advertisements do not imply a product is indispensible, takes priority in life or is a key component to a successful social event.

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Key contact

Louisa Caswell

Louisa Caswell

Partner, Dispute Resolution
London

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