Morrisons has expressed its disappointment that the Advertising Standards Authority has banned one of its TV adverts for failing to promote healthy eating.

The ad for British-made quarter pounders, first broadcast in May, showed a schoolgirl removing salad items from the burger prepared by her mother before eating it. A voice-over stated: “Love quarter-pounders. Love them cheaper” while the ad showed shots of burgers. A clip of burgers being cooked was then shown while on-screen text stated: “£2.49 pack of 4. Made by us with 100% British Beef.”

The ASA ruled this showed her opting for a less nutritional option because she discarded the salad.

The ad, which one of several different executions that supported Morrisons ‘I’m Cheaper’ campaign, fell foul of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) guidelines on food, health and nutritional claims. The ASA said it “condoned poor nutritional habits… and it disparaged good dietary advice”.

Ruling that the ad cannot be shown in its current form again, the ASA required Morrisons to ensure future ads did not appear to condone poor eating or lifestyle habits, especially in children.

“Trying to convince children to eat their fruit and vegetables is something that most parents will identify with,” said a Morrisons spokesman. “Our aim with the ad was to reflect this in a humorous and engaging way. We’re disappointed with the ASA’s adjudication.”

The advertising campaign was a key part of Morrisons’ strategy to address the threat of the discounters and arrest the decline in its sales. The ads followed the retailer’s move in May to permanently reduce the prices of 1,200 grocery items by an average of 17%.