Pasta maker Barilla has lost a bid to get competitor New World Pasta to alter claims it makes in ads for its Healthy Harvest Pasta.
Barilla filed a challenge with the National Advertising Division complaining that Healthy Harvest had made misleading comparative claims made on its website, and in print and email advertising and by in-store shelf talkers. The challenge focused on claims about the whole grain and fiber content of the two pastas.
NAD determined that there was “no evidence in the record that consumers interpreted Healthy Harvest’s comparative whole-grain claims as conveying a message that the product is higher in fiber than Barilla’s product.”
NAD also determined that, to the extent that Healthy Harvest’s whole grain claims implied a “high in dietary fiber message, that message was supported.”
September was a rough month for Barilla. Last week the company was slammed by consumer group’s for comments by the company’s chairman Guido Barilla on an Italian radio program that were perceived as disparaging toward gays and gay marriage.
"I would never make a spot with a homosexual family," Barilla reportedly said on the program, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. "Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role."
The company has issued several apologies since Barilla made the controversial remarks in a bid to placate consumer groups that have called for boycotts of the company’s products.
USA Today reported yesterday that Barilla promised to meet with groups "that best represent the evolution of the family, including those who have been offended by my words." The pledge was made in a video posted on the company’s website in which Guido Barrilla again apologized for his remarks.