The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints about Coca-Colas Vitaminwater

The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints about Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater

The Coca-Cola Co has been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog from using the word "nutritious" to describe its Vitaminwater brand.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said today (19 January) that it had received three complaints, following a poster campaign run by the soft drinks giant with the tagline "enhanced hydration for the nation - delicious and nutritious". The complainants claimed the use of the word "nutritious" was misleading given that the drink actually contains 23g of sugar.

Coca-Cola admitted that each 50cl serving of Vitaminwater contains 23g of sugar, but claimed that the product can be described as "nutritious" because it includes "nutritionally meaningful quantities" of several nutrients including vitamin C and four B vitamins.

The ASA noted Coca-Cola's assertion that the product contains sufficient quantities of vitamins to contribute towards the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for those nutrients, and that the number of calories per 100ml mean that the product can be defined as "low-calorie". However, the beverage is only available in a 50cl size, considered a "single serving", the ASA said.

"We considered that consumers would understand the word "nutritious" in the context of the ad as a claim that Vitaminwater contained added ingredients that were needed by the body in order to stay healthy," the ASA said. "However, we considered that they would not expect a "nutritious" drink to have the equivalent of four or five teaspoons of added sugar."

This is not the first time Vitaminwater has received criticism. Coca-Cola had to defend the brand last week after questions were raised by Australian consumer publication Choice over the health credentials of the brand.

And, in July, the firm failed to win the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in the US in which it was accused of making "deceptive and unsubstantiated" claims on bottles of its Vitaminwater brand.