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Jan 29, 2020

The name of a category under which food supplements are listed, in the given case ‘weight mangement’,  may constitute a health claim. Accordingly, all products within the category should have an individually applicable claim which relates to the general claim and meet the conditions for the use of health claims.

Major retailer of health and beauty products, Holland and Barett, included a range of food supplements under the category ‘weight management’ on its website. The UK Advertising Standards Authority argued that the such categorization clearly identifies the function - beneficial effect - of the products and therefore may influence a consumer’s decision to purchase those products. As weight management can be considered a general health claim, all products catalogued under that section must have relation to this general claim and should have individual claims applicable to them that are based on generally accepted scientific evidence and well-understood by the average consumer. For the so called on-hold claims [claims which are registered with EFSA for evaluation but have not been authorized for use], they may provisionally be used provided the actually used claim has the same meaning as the registered claim, the  conditions of use are observed and the claim is not misleading and can be substantiated.

Holland and Barett defended its case by invoking claims applicable to the products within the category. However, ASA did not follow as the chosen on-hold claims did not meet the requirement to have the same meaning as ‘weight management’ for consumers or no evidence was submitted to support the claims. Only for a single product an authorized claim was available and it met the conditions of use. However, all products associated with the claim ‘weight management’ should have a related health claim applicable to them and meet the conditions of use. Therefore, Holland and Barett should no longer use the header ‘weight management’ for the food supplements shown in that section of its website.

Advertising Standards Agency, Ruling on HOLLAND & BARRETT RETAIL LIMITED t/a Holland & Barrett (04 December 2019) - link

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