Is AB Mauri leading small bakeries to make unsubstantiated claims?
On 5 January 2023, the UK and Ireland division of AB Mauri, a global baking additives and ingredients company, announced that it had launched a range of mixes called Pure ProGrains, claiming that these offer ‘significant health and nutritional benefits.’
On 13 January, we sent the email below to AB Mauri, asking the for details of the health and nutritional benefits the company claims the products offer, and that each of the claims they (and suggest/encourage bakers to) make appear on the Great Britain nutrition and health claims register (GB NHC Register).
On its Pure Craft microsite, the company states that the mixes are: ‘specially designed to make it simple for craft and medium size bakeries to produce healthier breads.’ The company reinforces this marketing message with further claims including: ‘deliver several significant health and nutritional benefits’, ‘can be promoted on-pack as ‘Good For Your Gut’ and ‘the perfect choice for consumers looking to improve both their dietary and digestive health.’
The company even extends its claims to allude to environmental benefit: ‘But the benefits don’t end there. This tasty mix is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the ever-increasing move to plant-based and alternative protein foods, that’s been driven not only by a combination of health and wellbeing factors, but also by an increased awareness of our wider ecological impact.’
As an aside, having boasted that the mixes ‘taste fantastic’, the company specifically claims that the Protein Powered Bread Mix is ‘a delicious blend of pulses and legumes’ Strangely, it then appears to contradict this in the same paragraph by stating: ‘each ingredient has been carefully selected for their neutral flavour profile.’
Why we’re doing this
The Real Bread Campaign’s mission is finding and sharing ways of making bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. When we learn of activity, research or a marketing claim in line with these aims, we want to know more to discover if it’s something we should champion, disregard or challenge.
Making unregistered health and nutritional claims create the potential for shoppers to be misled and to create legal issues for business owners.
It is not clear to us from AB Mauri’s promotional literature what the claimed benefits are and whether they differ from benefits offered by simply using mixtures of wholemeal flours and whole grains, which might also be cheaper for both bakers and their customers.
Our concern is that, without:
- assurance that the health and nutritional claims AB Mauri is encouraging bakers to make are permitted
- exactly what the health and nutritional benefits are
- substantiation of the claims
- details of under what circumstances the claims apply (eg specific details of how the mixes are to be used – ‘just add water’ gives a very different result to mixing five parts of a mix with 95 parts white flour)
...small bakery owners could be led into passing on inaccurate information that could mislead shoppers and potentially lead to legal issues for the business owner.
Dear Davis and Thomas,
A number of bakers have raised concerns with the Real Bread Campaign about claims that AB Mauri makes, and apparently encourages bakers owners to make, about its Pure ProGrains range.
On your website, you state that: “Pure ProGrains™ is a new range of bread mixes from AB Mauri that have been specially designed to make it simple for craft and medium size bakeries to produce healthier breads. The four new mixes that comprise the Pure ProGrains™ offering not only taste fantastic – they also deliver several significant health and nutritional benefits.”
Please advise what these significant health and nutritional benefits are and that each of the claims you make (and suggest/encourage bakers to make) appear on the Great Britain nutrition and health claims register (GB NHC Register).
You state that products made using BARLEYmax High Fibre Bread Mix “can be promoted on-pack as ‘Good For Your Gut’” by bakers. What guidance do you supply to bakers to ensure that they can legally make such a claim? I have looked at the Great Britain nutrition and health claims register (GB NHC Register) but cannot find ‘good for your gut’ on the list of authorised claims.
You are also using issues of sustainability / the environment in your marketing, such as the second part of the range’s ‘Healthy Life, Healthy Planet’ strapline, and promoting one of the products as being “perfectly positioned to capitalise on the ever-increasing move [partly driven by] an increased awareness of our wider ecological impact.”
What, specifically, is it about each product in this range at the root of these claims? In what way(s) does the production and/or use of the mixes improve positive (or at least lessen negative) impacts on the environment, particularly in comparison to other flours and bread making methods/processes?
Please also send me full ingredients lists (including QUID) for all of the products in this range.
21 February 2023: We replied "It is disappointing that you launched a range unprepared to substantiate the marketing claims and, worse yet, that you still haven’t published the promised product information. This is despite more than seven weeks having passed since the launch and more than a month since we highlighted the issue. Rather than delay publication yet further on account of ‘a few marketing bits’, why not simply present the facts on your website and send them to us?"
We also submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.
20 February 2023: An AB Mauri representative advised that ‘we have had a few marketing bits that have held up some information going onto the website and into our inserts. If you keep an eye on the website the final uploads should be done by next week this will include product guides and information sheets on each of the products which should give you and other customers the information they require.’
14 February 2023: A month after AB Mauri launched the range, the company still had not published the promised product information sheets on its website. We followed up our queries again.
31 January 2023: We received an email from a Business Unit Controller at AB Mauri, apologising for the delay and going on to say: “I can confirm we have received your email and it has been passed to relevant department to respond. They are just confirming a few elements and will respond in due course to your questions.” The message indicated that we should expect a fuller reply the following week.
27 January 2023: We followed up our email.
Published 14 Feb 2023
Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.
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