The advertising watchdog has given the green light to a TV campaign for Unilever’s Flora Cuisine after viewers challenged claims the cooking oil contained “45% less saturated fat than olive oil”.

The ad featured broadcaster Vernon Kay discussing the product with his mother, who told him she was “looking after his ticker”. Text on the screen stated: “As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle” while a voiceover added: “New Flora Cuisine, it’s star treatment for the hearts you love.”

The Advertising Standards Authority said the 45% reduction statement was a valid nutrition claim under new European Union health claim regulations. Unilever demonstrated that no olive oil currently on the market contained less than 13g saturated fat per 100ml, compared to Flora Cuisine at 7g/100ml.

But the watchdog said the more general “good for your ticker” claim, “would need to be accompanied by an authorised specific claim” when a key section of the regulations came into effect on 14 December.

The ASA also noted the presence of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the product, which it acknowledged were agreed to deliver heart benefits.

“[As] we had seen evidence that Flora Cuisine could contribute to the maintenance and normal functioning of the heart, compared to olive oil, because it would reduce saturated fat intake, we concluded that the ad was not misleading,” the body ruled.