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08 June 2022
Greenwashing crackdown hits Tesco
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a series of Tesco ads that aired last year and which claimed its Plant Chef burgers and plant protein-based foods were more environmentally friendly than their meat equivalents.
The ASA accepts that, in general terms, switching to a more plant-based diet is a way in which consumers can reduce their overall environmental impact. But environmental claims about a specific advertised product need to be based on its full life cycle – including the impact of complex production processes which could theoretically result in a product having a similar or greater negative environmental impact than basic plant ingredients, or a meat-based alternative.
A complaint against two Sainsbury ads making similar environmental claims – on the grounds that chickpeas, lentils and beans featured in the ads were grown and imported from abroad, and so would have a greater environmental impact than domestically produced meat – was rejected.
Why it matters
At the recent Retail Week Live event, Tesco chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini highlighted the retailer’s ambition to increase sales of plant-based food by 300% by 2025, “because we understand it can help planet [health] and personal health”. Ultimately, it wants to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket.
The brand’s latest Better Baskets promotion, which highlights its Meat & Veg Mince, addresses ASA concerns by saying the product is “good for you and better for the planet as it has a lower carbon footprint than our 100% beef mince”.
It’s a “bit of a mouthful” at the end of the spot, Bellini admitted, but added that it’s “only fair – nobody wants to do greenwashing”.
Sourced from ASA, Financial Times, Retail Week Live [Image: Tesco.com]