National Advertising Division Finds Certain Claims for My Patriot Supply Survival Food Kits Supported; Recommends Advertiser Modify or Discontinue Others
New York, NY – May 3, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that certain claims made by My Patriot Supply (MPS) for its Long-Term Survival Food Kits and related products, sold under the Ready Hour brand, were supported and certain challenged advertisements did not convey any misleading implied messages.
However, NAD recommended that MPS discontinue or modify the following:
- Survival kits contain fresh fruit
- Photographs that exaggerate the ingredients contained in kits
- Long-term survival kits contain 2,000+ calories per day
- Survival kits are Made in the U.S.A
- Survival kits are home-cooked
- Sales are limited in duration
- Website ratings include all product reviews
The advertiser’s claims were challenged by 4Patriots LLC, a competitor in the shelf-stable survival food business.
NAD considered whether MPS’ Facebook advertisement impliedly conveys the message that its product labeled as a “Black Bean Burger Mix” contains fresh protein. In the absence of a strong misleading message to the contrary, NAD concluded that reasonable consumers are unlikely to believe that survival food, intended to be shelf-stable for extended periods of time, would contain anything “fresh.”
However, NAD determined that MPS’ claims that its freeze-dried fruit products are fresh are false and recommended that such claims be discontinued.
Food Imagery Claims
NAD concluded that the imagery for Vegetarian Taco Meat Substitute, Long Grain White Rice, Buttermilk Pancake Mix, Strawberry Flavored Creamy Wheat Case Pack, Maple Grove Oatmeal, Rice Pudding, and Orange Energy Drink Mix does not imply that the kits contain ingredients that are not actually in the products.
In contrast, NAD found that advertising for MPS’ Black Bean Burger does not clearly and conspicuously disclose it is a “mix.” Therefore, NAD recommended that MPS modify claims for its Black Bean Burger to avoid conveying the message that consumers will receive all the ingredients shown in the imagery (i.e., a burger with bun and fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions).
NAD also considered whether images of bowls and food displayed in MPS’ advertising overstate the actual amount of food in the kits. NAD determined that the challenged images do not exaggerate serving sizes and are not misleading.
2,000+ Calories Per Day Claim
NAD assessed whether the disclosure used in connection with MPS’ claim that its survival kits last for a certain number of days, at 2,000+ calories per day, was sufficiently clear and conspicuous wherever a consumer sees the claim throughout MPS’ advertising.
While NAD found that some instances of the claim were accompanied by a clear and conspicuous disclosure, many were not. Accordingly, NAD recommended that MPS add a clear and conspicuous disclosure for all instances of the 2,000+ calorie claim.
Made in USA Claims
During the proceeding, MPS voluntarily removed much of the flag-themed imagery from its website and modified the claims “Made in the U.S.A.,” “All-American,” and “All Ready Hour Products are proudly made in the U.S.A.” by adding the disclosure “Made in the U.S.A. from Domestic and/or Imported ingredients” where a specific food kit primarily contains foreign ingredients.
NAD concluded that the fact that a portion of a survival kit is made from foreign ingredients could be material to consumers and must be disclosed. Therefore, NAD recommended that MPS clearly and conspicuously disclose that some of its ingredients are imported for all products that contain foreign ingredients.
During the proceeding, MPS voluntarily modified the phrase “cook our own food” to “blend our own foods,” therefore this claim was not reviewed on the merits.
With respect to “home-cooked” meal claims, NAD determined that consumers may reasonably take away the message that the product has been cooked with the care and attention of an actual home-cooked meal. Because the product is manufactured at a plant, NAD recommended that MPS discontinue its “home-cooked” claims.
NAD recommended that MPS take appropriate steps to ensure that its time-limited claims, including “Flash Sale!,” “Limited-Time, Special Savings,” “These Deals WILL End . . . Soon,” and “Limited Time Deal” are in fact limited.
While the parties disputed whether MPS manipulated its reviews to receive a higher percentage of 5-star reviews on its website, as compared to lower ratings on Amazon and other third-party websites, NAD recommended that when MPS publishes product reviews on its website that it posts all reviews, subject to its policy preventing reviews with vulgar or offensive language.
Finally, during the proceeding MPS voluntarily agreed to permanently discontinue certain claims related to its 1-Year and 6-Month emergency food supply kits, freeze-dried fruit and vegetable kits, orange energy drink mix, and other food-related claims. Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on the merits.
In its advertiser statement, MPS stated that while it “stands behind the accuracy of the few claims that the NAD recommended be discontinued, MPS is a strong supporter of the self-regulatory process and will comply with NAD’s recommendations.”
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