Apples to Oranges: NAD Recommends Fruit2O Water Discontinue Certain Implied Nutrition Claims

During these hot summer months, nothing beats a cold, refreshing drink of water. Unless maybe that water was fortified with extra nutrients, similar to those found in healthy fruits? Sunny Delight created a water-based beverage, Fruit2O, that they claim does just that- provides refreshment, flavor, and the added benefit of fortified nutrients. Sunny D claims that Fruit2O contains "5 [or 4] nutrients equal to 2 servings of fruit" and touts the beverage as having "The wonders of fruit. The refreshment of water." Campbell's Soup Company found exception with the advertising, and asked NAD to examine the claims. Campbell's argued that while Fruit2O is fortified with certain nutrients, many are in significantly smaller amounts than in the relevant fruits. As a result, any implied claims that drinking Fruit2O gives consumers the same benefit as eating two servings of fruit are misleading. NAD concluded that Sunny D adequately established that the amount of certain highlighted nutrients present in Fruit2O are at least equal to the amounts found in two servings of fruit. However, not all the news was sunny. NAD noted the importance of not exaggerating health and nutritional benefit claims for products and expressed concern that Sunny D's claims drew direct comparisons between drinking Fruit2O and eating two servings of fruit- implied claims that it determined were inaccurate. Even if a product contains certain nutrients in amounts equal to that found in fruit, NAD stated, a consumer cannot be led to believe that drinking Fruit2O will provide the same overall nutritional benefit of consuming two servings of fruit. The implied message of nutritional equivalence was problematic to NAD and it recommended that the "equal to 2 servings of fruit" claims be discontinued. In addition, NAD also advised that the Fruit2O tag line "The wonders of fruit. The refreshment of water" be discontinued as well, because it contributes to the implied message that the beverage is nutritionally equivalent to two servings of fruit. The takeaway message here is that advertisers should be wary of making apples-to-apples nutritional claims when adding discreet nutrients to foods and beverages. NAD was clear that this type of claim (i.e., that the enhanced product provides the same nutritional benefit as consuming actual fruit) can be problematic. Moreover, NAD noted that these types of claims may be reasonably interpreted by consumers as meaning that nutritionally enhanced products provide the same overall benefits as consuming whole products (like fruits and vegetables) simply because they contain some of the same nutrients. Because whole fruits and vegetables may provide other additional benefits that may not be present in the enhanced product, such advertising may be considered misleading. It is unclear what NAD's view would be on the relatively common claim that a fruit or vegetable juice product provides the equivalent of a certain percentage of the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. – Randy Shaheen and Danielle Garten

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