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Regulator uncomfortable with 'non-alcoholic' cider ad

Publish date: 12 August 2019
Issue Number: 836
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) says it has 'discomfit' in the labelling of a product containing 0.3% alcohol as 'non-alcoholic' even though it was within the law to do so. The ARB was making a finding on complaints that a television advert for a Savanna cider was misleading as it referred to it as 'non-alcoholic' when it in fact contain a small percentage of alcohol. The 'non-alcoholic' label is in fact legal, and in accordance with the Liquor Products Act which states that drinks with less than 0.5% alcohol are considered 'non-alcoholic', reports TimesLIVE. The ARB said it could not make a ruling that contradicted legislation but 'nonetheless has discomfort with the advertising of products which contain a small amount of alcohol as "no alcohol" or "0%" alcohol'. 'The directorate is also aware that some consumers will not wish to drink even trace amounts of alcohol, including recovering alcoholics and people who do not drink for religious reasons.' However, the ARB said it could not ignore that a committee of industry had twice before accepted the practice of calling products with legally acceptable alcohol limits as 'alcohol-free', 'non-alcoholic' and even '0% alcohol'. However, it would feel more comfortable if the commercial contained a disclaimer, 'along the lines that the product contains 0.3% alcohol or "trace amounts" of alcohol'. The commercial, however, was found not to be in contravention of the code of advertising practice.

ARB ruling

Full TimesLIVE report