A U.S. consumer advocacy group has filed a complaint against food and beverage major Kraft Heinz Co for disparaging healthy foods including broccoli, salmon and tofu in its advertisements from recent years.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said on Wednesday it had filed the complaint to the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Better Business Bureau (CARU), a self-regulatory advertising industry agency, alleging the ads violated established guidelines.
CARU's guidelines state that advertising of food products should "encourage responsible use of the product with a view toward healthy development of the child". It also says that such advertisements should not "discourage or disparage healthy lifestyle choices or the consumption of fruits or vegetables."
"Kraft Heinz violated these guidelines on multiple occasions by airing an advertisement that disparages vegetables while encouraging consumption of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese."
Kraft Heinz, which is listed as a CARU supporter, did not immediately provide a comment.
The macaroni-and-cheese ad was repeatedly shown on children's networks including Disney XD, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network in 2019, according to CSPI.
The group said Kraft Heinz was no longer airing this particular ad on children's television, but alleged disparagement of healthy foods continued to be a theme in the company's advertising.