Smoothies can count as two of the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables in consumers' diets, the Advertising Standards Authority has said, in a groundbreaking ruling for the industry.

The advert watchdog consulted with the Department of Health, Food Standards Agency and the British Nutrition Foundation after smoothie maker Innocent Drinks received a series of complaints about an advert claiming its drinks could count for two of the five a day.

The Department of Health guidance states that the number of five-a-day portions per smoothie depends on the quantity of fruits or amount of fruit juice used and how the smoothie had been manufactured.

As a result, the ASA today (16 September) declared that Innocent's non-dairy 250ml drinks do contain enough pulped fruit and juice to consist two of the recommended portions.

The ruling marks a significant shift in health authorities' guidelines. All fruit-based drinks previously only counted as one portion of the daily five, regardless of how much is consumed.

The ASA said that each 250ml serving of Innocent smoothies contained all the edible parts of the pulped fruit and a sufficient amount of edible fruit and of fruit juice.

Innocent today "welcomed" the ruling.

"This supports the Department of Health's own guidelines published earlier this year also recognising Innocent smoothies can count for two of your five-a-day (along with agreeance from The Food Standards Agency and The British Nutrition Foundation)," the company said.

The UK Office of Fair Trading recently shrugged off competition concerns to approve Coca-Cola Co's acquisition of a stake in smoothie maker Innocent Drinks.

Innocent, which controls more than two thirds of the UK smoothie market, said in April that it had agreed to sell a stake of between 15% and 20% in its business to The Coca-Cola Co (TCCC) for GBP30m.