The Children’s Food Campaign complained in April 2012 that Nesquik’s UK website encouraged poor nutritional habits in children, with statements including “enjoy a glass of tasty goodness”, “wholesome milky goodness”, and “wholesome milky goodness for kids every day”. It noted that more than half the sugar content in a serving of milk flavoured with Nesquik came from added sugar, rather than naturally occurring milk sugar (lactose), and contributed more than a quarter of a child’s recommended daily maximum sugar intake.
However, the ASA said on Wednesday that it had informally resolved the dispute and Nestlé UK had agreed to withdraw the claims, meaning there was no further need for investigation.
Co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign Malcolm Clark told FoodNavigator that the organisation was disappointed that after an 18-month investigation, the ASA had not issued an official ruling.
“There is no public detail and no learning in it for other companies,” he said.
He added in a statement: “This ruling could have sent an important message to the junk food industry to show that it is unacceptable to promote sugary products to children as if they are healthy. We fear this is typical of the weak approach of the ASA, which is a body funded by, and with very close links to, the advertising industry….We need the advertising regulators to do more to protect children’s health.”
Under UK advertising rules overseen by the ASA, companies “must not condone or encourage poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children”.
Spokesperson for the ASA Matt Wilson said: “Where possible we try to solve things informally. It is better for advertisers and better for the complainant…It will have led to some sort of result for the complainant.”