Food by VICE

Pret’s Natural Food Claim Is ‘Misleading’ Says Advertising Watchdog

After a complaint from the Real Bread Campaign, the Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the chain could no longer say it sold “good, natural food.”

by Ruby Lott-Lavigna
20 April 2018, 3:09pm

Photo via Flickr user InSapphoWeTrust.

Have you already drunk at least a glass and a half of water today, even though it’s only 9 AM? Is your skin glowing from that 20-minute jog you went for last night? Do you wish to supplement your healthy, wholesome week with a delicious, naturally sourced sandwich from Pret? Of course you do, you absolute self-care legend!!!

Well, you might be better sticking with a homemade salad. According to the Guardian, Pret has been forced to remove adverts stating that the food it sells is “natural,” after the Advertising Standards Agency ruled it as “misleading.”

According to the ASA, Pret’s assertion that it made “proper sandwiches avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives, and preservatives” misled customers, as much of the bread used in its sandwiches contains E-numbers. The ASA ruled that it would be inaccurate for Pret to advertise its products as "good, natural food."

In the ruling, the agency said that “it is misleading to use the term [natural] to describe foods or ingredients that employ chemicals.”

“We considered that because some of Pret a Manger’s foods contained E-numbers … those foods did not constitute ‘natural’ foods for the purposes of the [food labelling] guidance.”

MUNCHIES reached out to Pret for a comment but hadn't received a response at the time of publication.

The ASA ruling came after complaints from the Real Bread Campaign, an organisation that pushes for higher-quality bread across the UK. In an email, a spokesperson for the organisation told MUNCHIES that Pret’s CEO had ignored suggestions of alternate bread suppliers, arguing that it would cost the sandwich chain too much money.

The Real Bread Campaign said: “It’s a shame that Pret didn’t bring its food and marketing claims together by kicking out all of the artificial additives it uses. We hope that the ASA banning Pret from advertising its sandwiches, wraps, baguettes made with artificial additives as ‘natural’ sends a clear message to other retailers and manufacturers.”

*Slowly puts down Posh cheese and pickle sandwich.*

This article originally appeared on Munchies US.