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Butternut Box scolded over ‘home-cooked meals’ claim

Pet food subscription service, Butternut Box has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), over an advert which claimed it produced “home-cooked meals”.

A complainant contacted the ASA and challenged claims that the company produced home-cooked food in an advert on its website which read “fresh, home-cooked meals, perfectly portioned, delivered to your door”.

The subscription service responded to the claims by saying its business “originated in a home kitchen where their recipes were developed and it would be possible to recreate their dishes using equipment designed for use in the home”. At the time of the complaint, Butternut Box said production was done in a rented kitchen and all their meals were run in small batches, with the process completed by hand.

The company said it did not believe that its food fell in to any of the existing categories of dog food, and therefore considered that “home-cooked” was the best description of its product. Butternut Box provided the ASA with results of a survey they ran by asking 500 dog owners how to describe their product.

Butternut Box proposed to amend its website so that the claim was qualified on the home page. It also proposed to create a page that provided further information on its product, which included an explanation on how the food was produced.

The ASA said it considered that consumers would interpret the term “home-cooked” to mean that Butternut Box’s products were prepared within a residential kitchen. The regulator said that whilst it considered the subscription service’s response, it noted that 207 of 500 participants in the survey described their food as “home-cooked” or “homemade”, however it said that they were only shown images of the food and not of its production.

An ASA statement read: “While we welcomed Butternut Box’s attempts to provide further clarification on the product on their website, we did not consider their proposed amendments sufficient to alter the overall impression that the food was produced in a residential kitchen.

“Therefore, because Butternut Box’s product was not prepared in a residential kitchen, we considered the claim ‘home-cooked’ was misleading.”

The ASA told Butternut Box that “the ad must not appear again in its current form” and told it to ensure “future advertising did not mislead by implying a product was created in a home kitchen when that was not the case”.

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