The Real Bread Campaign has criticised a ruling by the advertising watchdog that an advert for Iceland bread would not mislead consumers.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has rejected a complaint by The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) over a number of claims in the Iceland advert for its Luxury Bakery range, which appeared on the chain’s website:

  • ‘Crafted using only the highest quality ingredients’, as The Real Bread Campaign (RBC) understood artificial additives were used across the range.
  • ‘Crafted using a traditional 16-hour slow dough process’, the RBC understood the products were not crafted using traditional methods.
  • ‘Delivered fresh every day’, as the RBC understood that Iceland used preservatives in the range, so that the bread could be bought and eaten several days after it had been baked.

Iceland responded to the Real Bread Campaign’s complaints by providing a list of ingredients for each of the ‘Luxury bread’ products, as well as confirmation from its third-party supplier that the bread was made using specifically blended white flour from quality wheat.

The frozen food chain added that its supplier publicly promoted its ‘slow dough’ process and stated the products in the Iceland Luxury bread range were made with a traditional sponge and dough method.

Responding to the campaign’s ‘delivered fresh every day’ claim, Iceland said only two of its 11 breads in its Luxury bread range contained preservatives and its supplier confirmed that the bread was baked every day during the night, ready to be despatched at 3am the following day.

Following an investigation, the ASA ruled that the advertisement was not misleading.

The ASA said consumers would see that phrase “the finest ingredients” as a subjective claim, particularly because “finest” had no defined meaning.

It also said consumers would interpret the claim that the bread was made using “a traditional 16-hour slow dough” method to mean that it did not use modern industrial processes and that the method took 16 hours to complete.

“We noted that all of the dough was made using traditional spiral mixers rather than the more modern Chorleywood process,” the ASA stated in its ruling. “We noted the bread was supplied by a third party that specialised in these processes, rather than modern industrial processes, and that a portion of the dough was fermented for 16 hours”

Chris Young, campaign co-ordinator for the RBC, said improvements were needed in advertising and labelling law.

“We are deeply disappointed at this decision, which yet again underlines the urgent need for an Honest Crust Act to protect shoppers and the owners of the small independent bakeries that help to keep our high streets alive,” said Young.