Tesco vegan burger adverts banned over 'misleading' claim switching from meat 'can make difference to planet'

The advert received 171 complaints following the promotions of a vegan "Plant Chef" burger

Published

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned a Tesco advert for showcasing "misleading" claims, following the promotions of a vegan "Plant Chef" burger.

Tesco faced criticism from the ASA for implying if customers purchased the Plant Chef burgers they would "positively affect the environment" and "do their bit" to combat climate change by swapping to vegan burgers.

The adverts featured a voiceover, which said: "We've lowered the price of dozens of our Plant Chef products because a little swap can make a difference to the planet."

The Tesco Plant Chef burger advert has been banned over 'misleading' claims
The Tesco Plant Chef burger advert has been banned over 'misleading' claims
Tesco said they were 'disappointed by the outcome'
Tesco said they were 'disappointed by the outcome'

The ASA added: "We expected to see evidence that that was the case based on the full life cycle of the Plant Chef burger in comparison with a meat burger.

"However, we understood that Tesco did not hold any evidence in relation to the full lifecycle of any of the products in the Plant Chef range, or of the burger featured in the ads."

Concluding, it said: "Claims regarding their positive benefits to the planet had not been substantiated and were likely to mislead."

171 complaints were received by the ASA since the adverts release across broadcast and print, last autumn.

Tesco said the claims were not, nor meant to be, "environmental claims", as they did not assert that the products were wholly sustainable or good for the planet.

The claims follow moves by major supermarkets to dedicate more shelf space to plant-based alternatives, amid a wider shift towards reducing meat consumption in the UK.

The Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on policy, has urged people to cut down their meat intake by 20 percent by 2030 to help reducing agricultural emissions.

But the UK's chief adviser on tackling global warming, criticised "bogus arguments" that were being used by vegans over climate change and meat.

Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, Lord Deben, said it was wrong to flout claims that eating meat was not environmentally friendly, with an example being that grass-eating livestock could improve how soil stores carbon.

He said: “It is just not true that we should have a world in which there are no farm animals. They are essential for the mixed farming system, which is the way to return the vitality of the soil.”

A spokesman for Tesco said the supermarket was "disappointed by the outcome".

He added: "We’re committed to making it easy and affordable for customers to incorporate plant-based meat alternatives into their diets and recipes."