NAD REVIEWS ADVERTISING FOR GERBER TODDLER PRODUCTS FINDS COMPANY CAN SUPPORT CERTAIN CLAIMS FOR ‘GRADUATES’ LINE, RECOMMENDS COMPANY MODIFY, DISCONTINUE CERTAIN CLAIMS

New York, New York – Jan. 17, 2012 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business

Bureaus has determined that Gerber Products Company can support certain advertising claims made

in broadcast and Internet advertising for its Gerber Graduate “Healthy Meals” and “Lil’ Entrees.”

However, NAD recommended the company modify or discontinue certain claims made for its “Fruit &

Veggie Melts,” a freeze-dried snack product, as well as claims related to the “natural” contents of the

products. NAD further recommended the advertiser modify claims related to the products’ “immune

support” capabilities.

The advertising at issue was challenged before NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum,

by Beech-Nut, a competing maker of baby foods.

The challenged claims include the following:

• “[o]nly Graduates Lil Entrees is designed just for toddlers”

• Gerber Graduates Healthy Meals are “[t]he only meals designed for preschoolers with protein

and a full serving of veggies.”

• Gerber’s Start Healthy/Stay Healthy nutrition system is a “unique and innovative approach to

feeding and nutrition, based on your child’s stage of development, from birth to preschool.”

• “*3 fruit/veggie servings per bag*. . . *One toddler serving is ¼ cup fruit/veggie. Each bag

has the equivalent of 3-1/4 cup fruit/veggie servings.”

• “NUTRIPROTECT—Nutrition for Healthy Growth & Natural Immune Support”

• “GRADUATES FRUIT & VEGGIE MELTS snacks are a great way to make every bit count by

providing vitamins A, C, & E for healthy growth and natural immune support.”

Following its review of the advertiser’s evidence,  NAD determined that Gerber’s “unique and

innovative” claims were substantiated, along with two exclusivity claims: “[o]nly Graduates Lil’

Entrees is designed just for toddlers, with protein, grains, and a side of veggies. . . [o]f items in the

Baby Aisle”; and Gerber Graduates Healthy Meals are “[t]he only meals designed for preschoolers

with protein and a full serving of veggies.”

Turning to Gerber’s claims about its Fruit & Veggie Melts, NAD was satisfied that the advertiser

supported its characterization of the Melts as a “freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snack.”

NAD found, however, that the evidence in the record did not support the message conveyed by

Gerber’s television commercial for its Fruit & Veggie Melts. This commercial features a voiceover that

claims, “the Gerber generation is making their fruit and veggies disappear,” as whole fruits and

vegetables are shown to disappear into a bag of Melts.

NAD determined that the visual depiction, along with the accompanying voiceover, conveyed an

unsupported message that Gerber’s Melts were nutritionally equivalent to whole fruits and

vegetables and recommended that the advertiser discontinue the commercial.  NAD further determined

that the evidence in the record did not support the claim that the advertised

products provided “natural” immune support – or that they are made from “100% natural fruit.”

NAD recommended that such “natural” claims be discontinued.

Finally, NAD reviewed the advertiser’s immunity claims, beginning with “Immune Health Quiz”

appearing on Gerber’s website. NAD determined that the quiz did not state or imply that Gerber’s

products would prevent illness or enhance immunity and NAD was not troubled by Gerber’s use of

the term “NUTRIPROTECT” to describe its blend of vitamins and nutrients.

However, NAD recommended that the advertiser should either discontinue its “immune support”

claim, or modify it by making clear that its immunity-related benefit relates to the products’ capacity

to ensure or maintain a healthy immune system by maintaining adequate levels of Vitamins A, C,

and E.

Gerber, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “is pleased to support the self-regulation

process and expects its competitors in this market to similarly support self-regulation and to follow

the recommendations NAD made in this decision.”

 

NAD’s inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising.  Details of the initial inquiry, NAD’s decision, and the advertiser’s response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.

About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the CBBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).

The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA),  the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).  Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.

NAD, CARU and ERSP are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation  program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. NARB, the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate NAD/CARU cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s primary source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership in the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.