BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Finds Format of RXBAR Front Labels Not Misleading, Communicates Substantiated Claims about the Core Ingredients of an RXBAR
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Brett, Vice President, NAD
New York, NY – December 11, 2019 – The National Advertising Division has determined that the challenged claim, “3 Egg Whites / [Number][Nut/Legume] / 2 Dates / No B.S.,” as it appears in standardized format on the front label of RXBARs, communicates the supported message that those ingredients are in RXBARs, and does not reasonably convey misleading implied claims about weight and proportions of the protein bar inside. It also found that the claim “3 Egg Whites” was not misleading as to the form of egg whites in the bar. Both the challenger, KIND, LLC, and the advertiser, Insurgent Brands, LLC, a division of the Kellogg Company, manufacture and market nutrition and/or protein bars.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB NP’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
The claims at issue included:
- RXBAR bars are made with “egg whites” as opposed to dehydrated egg white powder.
- The front of RXBAR bars’ packaging lists all ingredients in an RXBAR in descending order by weight.
- High-protein egg whites and nuts are the predominant ingredient in RXBAR bars, rather than date paste.
- RXBAR bars contain a greater amount of egg whites and nuts, by weight, than date paste.
- The RXBAR front wrapper tells you everything you need to know about the product and is “no B.S.”
RXBAR’s front labels, which are almost entirely taken up by a list of the products’ “core ingredients,” are presented in a standardized format:
3 Egg Whites
[number][specific nut or legume]
[Flavor] [Image depicting flavor]
The challenger contended that this formatting of RXBAR’s front labels misleads consumers about the relative prominence of the ingredients in the bar, i.e., that egg whites and nuts are most prevalent in the product when in fact dates are the most prevalent ingredient by weight. The advertiser countered that its label is straightforward, truthful, and does not convey a message about the relative weight of ingredients in its protein bars.
In support of its position that consumers take away a misleading message about the RXBAR label, the challenger provided two consumer perception surveys. However, NAD determined that the surveys had significant flaws and therefore, did not rely on the survey results. Rather, NAD used its own expertise to step into the shoes of the consumer to determine the messages reasonably conveyed by the challenged advertising.
With regard to the “3 Egg Whites” claim, NAD noted that there are, in fact, “3 Egg Whites” in the bar. The egg whites are dried, which the advertiser said was appropriate for a packaged, shelf-stable bar. NAD further noted that the dried egg whites are not highly processed or altered in a significant manner such that they should not be called “egg whites” to consumers and the FDA permits dried egg whites to be referred to as “egg whites” on product ingredient lists. For these reasons, NAD determined that consumers that see the term “egg whites,” on a front of pack statement on a small protein bar are unlikely to be misled because the product contains dried egg whites and, as a result, NAD concluded that the claim is substantiated.
After reviewing the challenged RXBAR packaging claims, NAD determined that consumers would take away only a literal message that the bar is made of three egg whites, a certain number of nuts and two dates, and not take away additional, more nuanced messages about the makeup of an RXBAR (i.e., a message about the relative weight of the listed ingredients is not reasonably communicated). NAD also determined that the label does not reasonably convey that egg whites, nuts/legumes and dates are the only ingredients in an RXBAR. Each bar is also identified by a flavor which, for some bars, cannot logically come from the three core ingredients listed on the label. Finally, NAD determined that the “No B.S.” claim – which signals to consumers that the ingredient statement is truthful and that the advertiser is not “B.S.ing” them – is supported.
In its advertiser’s statement, Insurgent Brands stated that it is “pleased that after careful, thoughtful review the NAD found the challenged claims to be truthful and substantiated.”
About the National Advertising Division: National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs (BBB NP) fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. These programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB NP is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org.