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Real Bread Campaign mystified by ASA decision

The Real Bread Campaign today expressed disbelief at the Adverting Standards Authority’s (ASA) decision not to ban advertisements that could help to perpetuate a widely circulated, but totally baseless, myth about bread.

The Campaign submitted its complaint to the ASA about a series of TV, cinema and online advertisements showing various grotesquely bloated cartoon animals, with the strapline ‘bread shouldn’t feel like this.’

Campaign coordinator Chris Young said: ‘We’re mystified that the ASA has concluded that these advertisements are anything other than totally misleading. While a minority of people live with medical conditions that mean they can struggle with wheat and other cereals, the vast majority of people experience only positive effects from enjoying eating Real Bread.’

‘The ASA initially rejected the complaint on the basis that the advertisements would be viewed by ‘ those with gluten allergy/intolerance” in the context of the advertiser’s website, which provided further information, and that they would understand “that the references to bloating relate to how those people might react to non-gluten-free bread.’

The Campaign responded by highlighting that the advertisements have also appeared in cinemas, on YouTube and on-demand TV. Through these channels, they are likely to be viewed by a much wider audience than just people actively seeking gluten free products. This wider audience are less likely to have existing knowledge about the issues and will see the ads away from the context of the advertiser’s site, divorced from qualifying information about relevant medical conditions.

As such, the Campaign believes that many general viewers may be left simply with a negative and misleading message, imagery and associations not just with industrial loaf products marketed as bread but with with Real Bread as well.

The ASA once again rejected the complaint on the grounds that ‘the onscreen text states “Suitable for Coeliacs and those with gluten sensitivity” which we consider is likely to set the context of the ad as being aimed at those who are gluten allergic / sensitive and so the following claim “bread shouldn’t feel like this” will be understood in that context.’ They concluded ‘it is for these reasons we consider that the ads are presented clearly in the context of people who have a gluten allergy / sensitivity rather than suggesting that bread makes everyone feel bloated.’

In addition to its continuing drive for honest and transparent loaf labelling and marketing, the Campaign also calls for investment into research to seek natural ways that wheat can be bred, grown, milled and fermented that will allow more of the minority who currently struggle with wheat to be able to enjoy eating Real Bread.

Read answers to FAQs about wheat, bread and industrial loaves.


As the ASA rejected the complaint (ref A16-342222) at an early stage of their process, they won’t be publishing any details of the case.

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Published 19 Jul 2016

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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