Baby Milk Action complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a joint Nestlé and ASDA email promotion involving SMA toddler milks.
Both companies have been warned not to repeat misleading claims that young children would miss out on nutrients such as iron and vitamin D if they were given cows’ milk instead of the Nestlé-owned SMA brand.
An email sent to members of the ASDA Baby and Toddler Club stated: ‘Although cows’ milk has many nutrients, it doesn’t contain much iron or vitamin D, so SMA Toddler Milk is a convenient option. It’s made from cows’ milk but is enriched with essential vitamins and minerals to help give your little one the important nutrients he needs as part of a healthy balanced diet to help him grow.’
According to the ASA ruling, Nestlé did not agree that the text implied that health could be affected by not consuming SMA Toddler Milk, or placed into doubt the nutritional benefits of cows’ milk. The Swiss food and beverage giant also insisted that the promotion did not emphasise SMA Toddler Milk as being the only way to obtain nutrients in a toddler’s diet.
Commenting on the ruling, a Baby Milk Action spokesman said: “Nestlé entered the UK market with the takeover of the SMA brand in December 2012 and we are seeing the aggressive marketing strategies it uses around the world being unleashed in the UK.
“ASDA was extremely unhelpful when we raised this case with it directly. We asked the ASDA media office to comment on the promotion in light of expert opinions that these milks are unnecessary, and even potentially harmful. ASDA dismissed our concerns by citing Nestlé’s assurances about its toddler milk claims.
“Unfortunately neither ASDA nor Nestlé will be fined under the ASA system, there will be no corrections issued and people will be unaware they were misled if this ruling is not prominently reported by the media.”