Coles Banned From Advertising 'Fresh' Bread For Three Years

Coles has been banned from promoting its bread products as "fresh" for three years as punishment for false advertising. The Federal Court found that breads advertised by Coles as "freshly baked in store" were sometimes produced months previously in other countries. The supermarket giant must also display a notice in its stores and on its website telling shoppers that it has broken Australian consumer law.

Photo: Coles

As we reported at the time, Coles came under the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2013 for misleading advertising relating to its bread products. In various advertisements, Coles claimed that its bread was “freshly baked in store” when it was actually prepared off-site (sometimes months prior in overseas factories) and only "finished" in the supermarket.

In the resulting court case, Coles was found guilty of breaching three sections of Australian Consumer Law. Today's ruling has effectively banned Coles for three years from advertising its bread as being baked on the same day that it's sold or being made from fresh dough.

In addition, it must inform customers of the ban and that it falsely advertised bread as fresh when it had been partially baked and then frozen months earlier. The supermarket also faces fines of up to $3 million

If you run a customer-facing business, the lesson here is to refrain from making claims about your product that you can’t substantiate. If you're a consumer, the lesson is simple: don't believe everything you see in advertisements. Consumer protection laws are not always adhered to; even by companies that should know better.

[Via SMH]


Comments

    Hardly surprising. I once tried their sourdough bread and found it didn't resemble a sourdough at all. Sourdoughs are usually quite heavy breads, where as the Coles version was light and fluffy. If it's possible they are selling sourdough that isn't sourdough at all (the catch would be whether they are doing any long fermentation of the yeast), that in itself is misleading conduct. At leas the ACCC got them on something though.

    So there is now no point in Coles making or providing fresh bread to its customers for the next 3 years because they cannot the fact to promote their brand.

    They get no benefit from it so they won't do it... In effect, the penalty encourages the company to continue providing a sub-standard product. It just stops them lying about it....

      Not really. The ruling prevents them advertising baked-then-frozen bread from being advertised as fresh. They can still advertise truly fresh bread as fresh.
      They will probably now turn it around into a big advertising campaign to say they now "really" make "fresh" bread.

        But there's no freshness like Coles freshness! It could be as fresh as a daisy or as fresh as an old hat - regardless - there's no freshness like Coles freshness!

        That's not how the article is worded though? It's says that they are not allowed to advertise their bread as 'fresh'. It doesn't not say that if it really IS fresh then they can...

        Other articles on the topic are the same.

        Also, why would they be prevented from advertising 'not fresh' bread as 'fresh' for 3 years but then after that it's ok again?

        Your interpretation of the article does not make sense to me.

        Last edited 30/09/14 5:14 pm

    If you run a competitor-facing business, dont do anything the competitor can catch you doing and rub your face in.

    Woolies is still calling themselves, the Fresh Food People... kind of puzzled they werent the ones that dobbed in Coles. or did they remain silent, cause their advertising is a little bit ambiguous too. Duopolies do have love-hate relationships *makes you think*

      People thiunk it's a duopoly, when in reality Aldi has sufficient holdings in Australia to have the big two consider them a direct competitor.

    And what about Woolworth's meaningless "*our* cheapest bread in Aus" line in their current advertising? (see http://www2.woolworthsonline.com.au/Shop/ProductGroup/23840). These retailers should be taken to task for abusing the truth and language & treating consumers like idiots …

    a bit over the top don't you think Riggy.
    Coles Is as bad as woollies. IGA and Aldi would almost certainly step in to fill the oligopoly vacuum if you got rid of Coleworths. The damage to the consumer would far outweigh any benefit of shutting down this oligopoly.

    well done ACCC (/golf claps).
    how about going after the petrol suppliers now? remember to bring your false teeth with you.

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