Tesco’s Plant Chef Advert Was Banned For ‘Misleading’ Environmental Claims

The ASA wanted more evidence of the Plant Chef range's environmental benefits


2 Minutes Read

A still of Tesco's advert, a woman bites into a burger Tesco's advert shows a woman biting into a Plant Chef burger - Media Credit: Tesco

A Tesco advert showcasing its Plant Chef vegan food range has been banned.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Tesco’s claims about the environmental benefits of the range were “misleading.”

In the advert, a woman takes a bite of a Plant Chef burger, while a program on the TV she’s watching talks about global warming. The voice-over states: “Now that’s not what Zoe likes to hear. But she’s gonna roll up her sleeves and do her bit. And there it is, a delicious Tesco Plant Chef burger.”

The voice-over adds that Tesco has lowered the price of its Plant Chef products, in a bid to encourage people to buy more environmentally-friendly options.

Back in 2019, Tesco launched its Plant Chef range for the first time. The products are designed to be appealing to meat-eaters and vegans alike, but also affordable. Right now, consumers can get their hands on a pack of Plant Chef Vegetable Burgers for less than £2. A tin of Plant Chef Lentil & Pepper Soup costs 50p.

The ASA notes that there was no evidence-based comparison of the “full life cycle” environmental impact of the Plant Chef burger compared with a meat burger. Therefore, it concluded that Tesco’s claims “had not been substantiated.”

The supermarket chain, however, notes that the claims were not meant to be “absolute environmental claims.”

Research suggests plant-based products help the planet

A growing body of research suggests that plant-based products are better for the planet than meat products. This is because the meat industry emits huge amounts of greenhouse gasses, wastes resources, and drives deforestation.

In 2018, for example, the biggest-ever food production analysis was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford. They found that eating a plant-based diet was the “single biggest way” an individual can reduce their impact on the planet.

More recently, a study from the University of Bonn noted that people in rich countries need to cut their meat consumption by at least 75 percent for the sake of the environment.

A spokesperson for Tesco said the chain was “disappointed” by the ASA’s decision. However, they added that the supermarket would continue to provide customers with “delicious and affordable plant-based products.”

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