Aldi Christmas dinner

Source: Aldi

An Aldi Christmas dinner spread image, released by the discounter last year to mark its ‘price lock’

Aldi has landed in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority for calling itself “the home of Britain’s cheapest Christmas dinner”.

The watchdog found the claims in a national newspaper ad to be misleading in a number of ways, including by relying on a Which? comparison made in November, using prices that were likely to have changed by the time consumers bought Christmas dinner in December.

Sainsbury’s, which filed the complaint about the ad, noted that supermarkets generally introduced final prices and promotions for typical festive dinner items in the last week or so before Christmas.

The ad also misled by failing to make clear that Which? had not in fact awarded Aldi for offering the “cheapest Christmas dinner” as implied, but for a “budget-friendly Christmas dinner”, alongside Lidl. Aldi had been deemed cheapest but only by 4p, which the consumer publication had called “negligible”.

The ASA said the fact the difference was only negligible was important because consumers would also be considering relative distances or transport costs in deciding where to shop. It said the ad was therefore misleading on the matter.

The ad further misled because the Which? comparison included only seven UK supermarkets “rather than all British supermarkets as would be understood by consumers”, the ASA said.

The ad also featured products not included by Which?, while the ASA said consumers would expect it to be limited to those in the publication’s price comparison.

In addition, it misled by relying on the same weight ranges as used by Which? – for example 175g to 300g for pigs in blankets. The ASA said a specific weight was needed because consumers would be taking into account the number of people eating.

The ad misled on yet another ground, with a “2022 price locked” claim, when both the ad and Which? comparison included some products that had not been locked in price since the previous year.

The ASA found the ad, consisting of a wraparound occupying both the front and back pages of the newspaper, had also failed to adequately signpost where consumers could find information to verify the claims. While the back page included details and a web address for more information in small print, some readers would have seen only the front page, the ASA said.

Aldi has been reprimanded and told the ad must not appear again in the same form.