Think Your Pret Sandwich Contains Natural Ingredients? Think Again

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned two adverts by the chain over claims they were misleading

Think Your Pret Sandwich Contains Natural Ingredients? Think Again

by Jenn Selby |
Published on

If you’re planning on tucking into a wholesome Pret a Manger sandwich under the promise of fresh, natural ingredients, you may wish to reconsider.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two of the food chain’s adverts because of 'misleading' claims over just how 'natural' its ingredients really are.

ASA received complaints about adverts posted by the company in December 2016.

The first was a rather embellished description of Pret on Facebook.

‘Pret opened in London in 1986,’ it read. ‘College friends Sinclair and Julian made proper sandwiches avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast’ food on the market’

The second advert featured heavily on the Pret a Manger website.

‘Pret creates handmade natural food,’ it read, adding that the company was ‘doing the right thing… naturally’.

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The complaints were made by food and farming charity Sustain. It said that claims that Pret’s products were ‘natural’ implied that the chain didn’t use artificial additives or preservatives. A quick scan of the ingredients list on the back of products tells a different story.

Pret counter-claimed that its adverts did not implicitly claim that they only used natural ingredients. Neither did it say that its food was additive-free.

Food and farming charity Sustainmade the complaints on the basis that claims that Pret’s products were natural implied the chain’s food was free from artificial additives.

Marketing bods went as far as to argue that they used the word 'naturally' in the adverts not to imply organic ingredients, but as a sort of word play on the term “of course” or 'obviously'.

However, they failed to pull the wool over ASA’s eyes, and the media regulator concluded claims its food was 'natural' breached the advertising code and were misleading.

In a statement, ASA said: ‘We told Pret a Manger to ensure their ads did not claim or imply that their food was ‘natural’, unless their products and ingredients were in line with consumer expectations of the term ‘natural’.’

In response, Pret a Manger’s food and coffee director Clare Clough said that the company had taken the views of ASA on board and had already made the requested changes.

‘We cherish the relationship we have with our customers,’ she said. ‘We believe we represent Pret’s food honestly and we always welcome feedback.'

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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