ASA bans Oatly UK ads for ‘misleading’ claims about meat industry

ASA bans Oatly UK ads for ‘misleading’ claims about meat industry

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has found that adverts by alternative milk brand Oatly breached CAP code rules with statements about the meat and dairy industries’ environmental impact.

After receiving 109 complaints, the ASA investigated a series of adverts by Oatly, upholding four of five issues raised by complainants. The complaints concerned five claims across two TV ads a paid-for Facebook post, a paid-for Twitter post and two press ads. Among the five claims challenged, three concerned the environmental impact of the global meat industry:

  • “The dairy and meat industries emit more CO2e than all the world’s planes, trains, cars, boats etc., combined”
  • “Today, more than 25% of the world’s greenhouse gases are generated by the food industry, and meat and dairy account for more than half of that”
  • “Climate experts say cutting dairy and meat products from our diets is the single biggest lifestyle change we can make to reduce our environmental impact”.

In a statement, Oatly backed up the first of these three claims by stating that research has shown greenhouse gas emissions were higher for the meat and dairy industry than the transport industry, by 0.1 gigatonnes CO2e.

ASA said that they acknowledged Oatly’s report, however they noted that the assessments of the environmental impact of the meat and dairy and transport industries had taken into account different parts of their life cycles.

The board explained that because equivalent parts of the life cycle had not been accounted for in the emissions figures used to support the claim, the first of the three claims overstated the emissions from the meat and dairy industry compared to the transport industry.

The ASA went on to find the ads in which all three claims were made to be ‘misleading’ and in breach of various CAP code rules, including misleading advertising and environmental claims. The body ruled that the ads must not appear again in the forms complained about.

ASA’s full report on the case can be found here.

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