National Advertising Division (NAD)
NAD Recommends GlaxoSmithKline Discontinue Benefiber Claims of “100% Natural,” Satiety, and Curbing Cravings; Advertiser to Appeal
For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs, 301.412.7769 / firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY – May 26, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) recommended that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) discontinue the express claims that its Benefiber Original and Benefiber Healthy Shape fiber supplements are “100% natural,” and that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings,” and “helps you feel full longer.” These claims, which appeared on Benefiber product packaging and website advertising, were challenged by The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), maker of the competing dietary supplement and laxative product, Metamucil. GSK said that it will appeal the adverse findings to the National Advertising Review Board.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
With regard to the “100% natural” claim, NAD noted that the production of Benefiber involves a multi-step process that utilizes hydrochloric acid, added enzymes and a tailored, highly controlled method, which selects for biological properties that resist digestion, increases fiber content, enhances solubility, lowers viscosity and adds sweetness to the product marketed to consumers. This process transforms the digestible, 0% fiber wheat starch ingredient into the non-digestible, 85% fiber wheat dextrin ingredient touted to consumers. NAD carefully reviewed the evidence and arguments set forth by both parties and determined that the processing of wheat starch to yield the wheat dextrin found in Benefiber represents a significant alteration of the source ingredient that is inconsistent with a consumer’s reasonable understanding of a product that claims to be “100% natural,” and recommended that the claim be discontinued.
NAD also determined that the evidence in the record did not provide a reasonable basis for the advertiser’s establishment claim that Benefiber Healthy Shape is “clinically proven to curb cravings” or the health-related satiety claim that Benefiber Healthy Shape “helps you feel full longer,” and recommended that these claims be discontinued. NAD noted that these claims would need to be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, which must also demonstrate that the results will be meaningful to consumers (i.e., a study must show effectiveness in the relevant population). After reviewing the totality of the advertiser’s evidence regarding satiety, NAD determined that the studies submitted were either not consumer relevant in terms of population and the conditions under which the data was collected, measured outcomes or fiber-types that were not relevant to the challenged claims, or did not provide critical information that would permit NAD to assess the reliability of the study.
In its advertiser’s statement, GSK stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the NAD’s findings and will appeal the decision in its entirety. GSK firmly believes that the challenged claims are supported and that the NAD’s decision is inconsistent with the evidence in the record and NAD precedent. GSK appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process and looks forward to resolving this matter with the National Advertising Review Board.”
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 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. BBB National Programs 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.