The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Arnott’s Biscuits Ltd (Arnott’s) in relation to representations about its Shapes Light & Crispy biscuits (Shapes Light & Crispy). Arnott’s has admitted that its conduct was likely to contravene sections 18 and 29(1)(a) of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Arnott’s has also paid penalties totalling $51,000 following the issue of five Infringement Notices by the ACCC.
Arnott’s is an unlisted Australian public company which manufactures, markets and supplies a range of sweet and savoury biscuits and snack foods to consumers through supermarkets and other retail outlets across Australia.
Between 5 October 2014 and 13 July 2015 Arnott’s published the prominent statement “75% less saturated fat” on the packaging of Shapes Light & Crispy, along with other prominent statements including “New”, “Oven Baked Not Fried”, and the “Shapes” stylised logo. In doing so, the ACCC considers that Arnott’s made a false or misleading representation that Shapes Light & Crispy contained 75% less saturated fat than Arnott’s original Shapes biscuits. Shapes Light & Crispy in fact contained approximately 60% less saturated fat than the original Shapes biscuits.
To address the ACCC’s concerns, Arnott’s has provided the ACCC with a section 87B undertaking that it will:
·for a period of three years, not make a claim comparing its product with a third party product without:
oclearly identifying the products that are the subject of the comparison in a sufficiently prominent manner; and
oensuring the comparison is appropriate having regard to all facts and circumstances;
·publish a Corrective Notice on its website and in the nationally published industry magazine Foodmagazine; and
·establish and implement a supplementary compliance program designed to minimise Arnott’s’risk of future breaches of the provisions of the ACL concerning false, misleading or deceptive representations or conduct.