Pret A Manger ‘Natural’ Claims Misleading, Says Advertising Standards Authority

Pret A Manger 'Natural' Claims Misleading, Says Advertising Standards Authority
image via Pret A Manger/Instagram

Popular sandwich spot Pret A Manger can no longer claim that the food sold in its more than 700 locations worldwide is “natural” says Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The chain uses additives in many of its food items, a practice the ASA says the chain claims to be otherwise in advertisements, including one from 2016 that claims the company avoids “obscure additives and preservatives” common in the fast food market.

The ASA determined that some of the chain’s items “did not constitute ‘natural’ foods,” specifically three food additives found in the chain’s bread.

“We considered that because some of Pret A Manger’s foods contained E-numbers, which were artificial additives that had been produced by chemical processes, notwithstanding whether the additives were obscure, those foods did not constitute ‘natural’ foods for the purposes of the [UK Food Standards Agency] Guidance,” noted the ruling, which points to the use of emulsifiers E472e and E471 and E300, a vitamin C, aimed at helping the bread rise.

“These are found in much of the bread sold in supermarkets and on the high street,” a spokeswoman for the chain told Business Insider. “We would really like to find a solution and our food team has been working hard trialling recipes that do not use emulsifiers. They have not yet found one that meets the standards our customers expect.”

According to the ASA, use of the word “natural,” while not regulated to the same degree as “organic,” means the food is free from human interference; that it’s derived from ingredients produced by nature.

Following the decision by the ASA, Pret has altered its mission statement to remove mention of avoiding additives in its food.

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