NAD Recommends Chobani Modify “45% Less Sugar Than Other Yogurts” Claim to Avoid Implying that “Other Yogurts” Includes Non-Nutritively Sweetened Products
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New York, NY – December 2, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Chobani LLC modify its “45% less sugar than other yogurts” claim for its Chobani® Less Sugar Greek Yogurt products to clearly communicate the basis of comparison and avoid implying that “other yogurts” include yogurt products that use non-nutritive sweeteners.
The claims at issue, which appeared on Chobani® Less Sugar product packaging, Chobani’s website, the websites of several online grocery retailers, and on multiple social media posts, were challenged by Danone US, LLC, a manufacturer of competing yogurt products.
All dairy yogurts contain sugar because milk contains the sugar lactose. Yogurts differ, however, with respect to added sugar content. To sweeten yogurts, manufacturers may use nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners. Nutritive sweeteners are sweeteners that provide the body with calories, such as sucrose (cane or beet sugar), honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses. Non-nutritive sweeteners have low or no calories, such as artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame-potassium, as well as plant-based sweeteners such as stevia.
NAD determined that the challenged “45% less sugar than other yogurts” claim reasonably communicates that the “other yogurts” incorporates all comparable substitutes to the Chobani® Less Sugar products, which includes yogurts with non-nutritive sweeteners. However, the advertiser’s “market basket” analysis in support of the claim excluded yogurts made with non-nutritive sweeteners (as well as plain/unflavored yogurts, yogurts with mix-ins, and kids’ yogurts).
Therefore, NAD concluded that Chobani’s unqualified “45% less sugar than other yogurts” claim could reasonably convey a misleading message to consumers about the amount of sugar in “other yogurts.” NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claim to clearly communicate the basis of the comparison.
In addition, NAD found that reasonable consumers would not interpret the “45% less sugar than other yogurts” claim as a comparison between Chobani Less Sugar and plain yogurt products. NAD noted that consumers seeking a lower sugar, sweetened, or flavored yogurt – like Chobani Less Sugar – are unlikely to view an unsweetened, unflavored plain yogurt as a comparable product.
Further, in reliance on the advertiser’s representation that it has permanently discontinued its “50% less sugar” claim and “Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt: 9g sugar per 3.5oz; other yogurts: avg. 18g sugar per 5.3oz” disclosure, NAD did not review these claims on their merits.
In its advertiser’s statement, Chobani stated that it agrees to comply with NAD’s decision. Chobani noted that it “disagrees with certain aspects of NAD’s decision,” however, it further stated that “it will revise the [‘45% less sugar than other yogurts’ claim] disclosure to make it more clear that ‘other yogurts’ does not include yogurts made with non-nutritive sweeteners.”
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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