The ASA said the claim that the ‘Plant Chef’ burger was better for the environment could only be justified “if the advertised product provided a total environmental benefit over that of the advertiser’s previous product or competitor product and the basis of the comparison was clear”.
Tesco had implied that customers could ‘do their bit’ for the environment by swapping to the plant based alternative.
In response, Tesco said the claims were “not, nor were they meant to be, absolute environmental claims, as they did not claim that the products were wholly sustainable or good for the planet”.
However, the ASA upheld the claim and said: “The ASA acknowledged that it was generally accepted amongst the scientific community that diets which included meat, and particularly red meat, had a greater environmental impact than plant-based diets, and that switching to a more plant-based diet was a way in which individuals could reduce their overall environmental impact.
“However, we also recognised that specific plant-based products, particularly processed products which could contain a number of different ingredients sourced from around the world, could nevertheless contain ingredients or be produced and transported by methods that had a high carbon or negative environmental impact.”
As such the ASA said the ad must not appear again in its current form. It also told Tesco to ensure that in future they did not make environmental claims about their products unless “they held sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims”.