NARB Recommends Benefiber Discontinue “100% Natural” and “Clinically Proven” Claims, But Finds “Helps You Feel Fuller Longer” Claim Supported
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New York, NY – October 22, 2020 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), a division of BBB National Programs, recommended that GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, LLC (GSK) discontinue “100% natural” and “clinically proven to curb cravings” claims for Benefiber Original and Benefiber Healthy Shape (Benefiber). However, the panel determined that GSK provided a reasonable basis for its claim that Benefiber “helps you feel fuller longer.”
The advertising at issue had been challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) before the National Advertising Division (NAD). Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 6366), GSK appealed NAD’s findings regarding these claims.
The sole ingredient in Benefiber is wheat dextrin. The panel concluded that, if the process by which wheat dextrin is manufactured were explained to consumers, they would likely not view the product as “100% natural.” Therefore, the panel determined that GSK’s “100% natural” claim is not supported and recommended that it be discontinued. The panel noted, however, that its conclusion regarding the “100% natural” claim “should not be interpreted as prejudging a more limited or qualified use of ‘natural’ that might be supported by the evidence.”
With regard to GSK’s satiety claim that Benefiber is “clinically proven to curb cravings,” the NARB panel noted that a “clinically proven” claim for a product offered to provide health benefits is a strong claim that should be supported by robust evidence from clinical studies. The panel concluded that GSK’s “clinically proven” claim is unsupported and should be withdrawn because each of the seven clinical studies relied on by GSK were subject to valid criticism as to whether they constituted a “good fit” for the claim.
However, the panel determined that GSK’s second satiety claim, “help you feel fuller longer,” is supported. The panel noted that the claim is qualified by use of the word “helps,” and concluded that the results of the seven clinical studies relied on by the advertiser, taken as a whole, are supportive of this more limited claim.
GSK stated that it will comply with NARB’s decision. GSK further stated that while it “respectfully disagrees with NARB’s determination that the ‘100% Natural’ claim is not substantiated . . . GSK appreciates the NARB’s recognition that GSK can make a more limited or qualified ‘natural’ claim that is supported by the evidence.”
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About the National Advertising Review Board (NARB): The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for BBB National Programs’ advertising self-regulatory programs. NARB’s panel members include 87 distinguished volunteer professionals from the national advertising industry, agencies, and public members, such as academics and former members of the public sector. NARB serves as a layer of independent industry peer review that helps engender trust and compliance in NAD, CARU, and DSSRC matters.