UK WATCHDOG WITHHOLDS CLAIMS ON SKIN HEALTH FOR BEAUTY CHOCOLATE / by Nikolaas Tilkin-Franssens

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found a number of claims for a chocolate named esthechoc to breach the rules on the use of nutrition and health claims.

On the product’s website, the allegation was made that the product would ‘help to regain your skin health and slow down the ageing process,’ followed by the words ‘the world’s first nutricosmetic with a strong, scientifically proven impact on the metabolism of ageing skin’. ASA considered the references to skin health would be perceived as a beneficial effect of the food and therefore constituted a health claim. The claim however is not authorized nor linked to an authorized claim under the EU Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation 1924/2006).

In addition, the website included a statement that the food ‘promotes optimal recovery from any intervention in plastic surgery. As a result of this influence on skin metabolism it is possible to observe a reduction in skin reddening and oedema after treatment and during recovery ‘. ASA argued that the description leads to consumer’s believing the product could treat skin conditions that arise after plastic surgery. The ASA codes of conduct in marketing communications sets that claims which imply or state that a food may prevent, treat or cur human disease are not acceptable.

Further, ASA found that the claim ‘confirm unmatched systemic circulation levels of beneficiary polyphenols that contribute to a daily balanced diet’’ implies that esthechoc contains more polyphenols than other chocolates. The comparison of nutrients between foods constitutes a comparative claim for which it is required the product contains at least 30% more of the respective nutrient, polyphenols, than a similar product. The defendant did however not provide sufficient evidence of the quantity of polyphenols in the compared product and whether that reference product would represent a similar dark chocolate.

The marketer was instructed to no longer show the claims or otherwise make them comply with the applicable rules for the use of nutrition and health claims.

ASA Ruling on Cambridge Chocolate Technologies Ltd (21 August 2019) - link