Three Waitrose television and press advertisements featuring chefs Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal have been deemed misleading by the advertising watchdog.
Five members of the public complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the ads for Waitrose pork, which said that the pigs from which it came were “outdoor bred”. They argued this implied that the pork came from pigs that spent the duration of their lives outdoors, whereas they understood that they were reared indoors in confined conditions after a few weeks.
Waitrose told the ASA that “outdoor bred” had a recognised meaning: that pigs were born in fields, where they were kept until weaning, and then moved indoors. On the other hand, “outdoor reared” – another industry-standard term – meant that pigs were reared for approximately half their lives in fields.
However, the ASA concluded that while the term “outdoor bred” might be understood in the pig farming industry, the average viewer was unlikely to be aware of its particular meaning. As the ads showed pigs outdoors and referred to the “happy” pigs and pigs that got ” … plenty of fresh air … “, viewers were likely to think the animals spent most of their lives outdoors.
The ASA told Waitrose that the misleading ads should not appear again in their current form.