Firm ran ‘misleading’ advert claiming Quorn reduces carbon footprint – watchdog

An advert claiming a Quorn product reduced a consumer’s carbon footprint has been ruled misleading by the advertising watchdog.

The TV commercial, which aired in April 2020, claimed that Quorn Thai Wondergrains “helps us reduce our carbon footprint” and said consumers who “care about climate change” should “take a step in the right direction”.

Thirty-two complainants challenged the advert’s claims, and a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Marlow Foods, which owns Quorn, did not make clear what the claimed reduction of the carbon footprint was being measured against.

It meant “viewers would not know on what this reduction was based”, the ASA said.

Marlow Foods said the Thai Wondergrains product was certified by the Carbon Trust, which helps businesses to become more sustainable.

The brand said the product was awarded the Carbon Reduction Footprint certification, meaning it is reducing emissions year-on-year.

It also stated that it had signed up to the carbon footprint protocol, with a commitment to continue reducing the product’s emissions.

Marlow Foods said Quorn Pieces, a key ingredient of its product, had a carbon footprint “at factory gate” which was lower than chicken, which emits 5.9kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kg.

However, because the ad did not make clear the basis of the firm’s claims, that Quorn had committed to reducing the footprint of its products over time, the ASA concluded that its message was likely to mislead consumers.

In its ruling, the watchdog told Marlow Foods to ensure its environmental claims were made clear and did not “mislead by omitting material information from their ads”.