Leading UK supermarket Tesco has been instructed to pull a television advert promoting Butcher’s Choice Sausages which shows pigs moving freely in a field, it was announced today.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received four complaints from viewers of the TV ad, claiming that pigs used to make the sausages are in fact bred and reared in indoor barns.
Tesco responded that the meat for the products is actually sourced from the farm featured in the promotion and that the bangers were made using both standard and outdoor bred trim.
Disputing the meaning of outdoor bred pigs however, the ASA upheld the complaint and instructed Tesco to not broadcast the advert again.
A statement from ASA read: “We understood that the term outdoor bred had an industry-wide, recognised meaning: that pigs were born in fields, where they were kept until weaning, and then they were moved indoors.
“We noted that in all scenes the pigs were shown to be in a spacious and free environment. In particular, we noted that the pigs were shown wandering unrestricted outside and, within the indoor barn scene, the barn door was shown to be open and the pigs’ movement unrestricted.
“In that context, we considered that consumers were likely to interpret the ad to mean that the pigs used to make the Butcher’s Choice sausages were reared in an unrestricted environment and had access to outdoor pasture.”
Tesco came under criticism from the ASA in April of this year over a national ad campaign it produced criticising the Asda Price Guarantee, the source of much disagreement between the two biggest UK grocers as they compete to appear the cheapest in the eyes of the consumer.
In its response to the latest complaints, Tesco pointed out that pigs used in its food are reared to Red Tractor standards and that it ensures world class standards of husbandry and welfare to nationally agreed levels.