birds eye ad

Nomad Foods has been rebuked by the ASA for overstating the portion size of its Birds Eye ready meals.

A TV ad aired last autumn featured a man and woman in the kitchen heating Tagliatelle con Porcini from the Stir Your Senses range, with the pack seen next to the stove. The woman was later shown sitting at the table eating the pasta product from a bowl.

The complainant claimed the ad was misleading because it exaggerated the portion size of the product. The ASA upheld the complaint, saying consumers were likely to assume a single pack was suitable for two people when in fact it was meant for only one.

The shots of the pan and of the bowl appeared to contain more pasta and mushrooms when compared to one real-life serving, according to the ASA’s ruling.

“Because of that, and because viewers were likely to expect the amounts shown in the ad to be equivalent to one packet of the product… the ad exaggerated the portion size of the product and was therefore misleading,” it added.

Nomad Foods had argued that, while the pack shown next to the stove was a single-serve product for adults, consumers would expect more than one pack to be prepared to feed the couple. The ad used one portion for the bowl shots but slightly more pasta for the pan shots to reflect the two-person occasion depicted in the opening scene.

“As a leading brand in frozen food, Birds Eye is committed to advertising responsibly, and our intention was simply to highlight the single-serve portion size for adults that Stir Your Senses can offer,” a spokesman told The Grocer.

“The scenes with the man and woman eating accurately represent the contents of one standard portion. However, we appreciate there may have been confusion around the portion sizes shown in the pan and the resulting bowl shots.”

The brand was disappointed by the ASA ruling but would not run the commercial again, the spokesman added.

Clearcast said it had okayed the script at the pre-production stage with the proviso Birds Eye took care to accurately represent the contents of one standard pack and that the quantity and quality of the product was not overstated. The ad clearance service provider said it had been under the impression the guidance had been followed and it approved the finished ad on that basis.