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Huel ads banned over money-saving claims

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Huel ads banned over money-saving claims

Nutrition company Huel has had two adverts banned for making ‘misleading’ money-saving claims about its meal replacement products.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) took the action after considering the impact they might have amid the cost of living crisis.

With millions skipping meals and finding it harder to eat healthily compared to before the crisis, households across the country are keen to make savings on food.

Here, Which? explains why Huel’s online ads have been taken down and offers tips for maintaining a healthy diet on a stretched budget.

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What claims did Huel make?

Complaints were made to the ASA about paid-for Facebook ads, which appeared on 29 August 2022 and 6 September 2022. 

The advert stated: ‘Huel helps keep money in your pockets. An entire month’s worth of Huel works out at less than £50.’

The ASA also examined a page on Huel’s website titled ‘Five ways to save money on food’, which encouraged people to ‘embrace processed food and meal replacements’ and said: ‘Huel is another great example of processed food being able to help you save money on food.’

How the ASA investigated

The watchdog considered how people would view both the ads in the context of the cost of living crisis. 

It said those who viewed the Facebook ad ‘would likely compare the cost of a month’s supply of Huel, eaten for every meal, to the cost of a month’s supply of “traditional” meals’.

The ASA’s investigation found Huel did not make it clear that that the cost saving element of the ads was only based on consuming one Huel product a day, and was not the equivalent to a month’s worth of food covering all meals.

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When it came to the page titled ‘Five ways to save money on food’ the ASA believed the claims would be interpeted by consumers to mean that Huel products provided all the nutritional benefits of the types of processed foods referenced and could be eaten instead of ‘tradiotnal meals’.

The ASA noted to get the recommended amount of calories for a day, an average woman would have to eat five Huel portions That would cost about £350 a month, while an average man would need to eat more.

As Huel did not provide evidence that this would be a saving compared to a month’s worth of ‘traditional’ meals, the regulator concluded that the money-saving claim made in the ads were ‘misleading.’

The ASA also deemed the ads ‘irresponsible’ as they did not make clear that a ‘traditional’ diet of three meals a day could not be replaced with three portions of Huel a day.

What action has been taken?

The ASA has banned the ads and ruled that they must not appear again in the form complained about. 

It also told Huel to ensure its ads do not state or imply eating Huel for all meals instead of a ‘traditional’ diet was cheaper, unless it could substantiate the claim.

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The regulator also said Huel’s adverts must not imply three portions of Huel per day contained sufficient calories for people, and warned the company not to make general health claims unless they were accompanied by a specific authorised claim.

How did Huel respond?

A Huel spokesperson told Which?: ‘we take our responsibilities under the [non-broadcast advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing] code seriously, and when brought to our attention, we pulled the ads and removed the article from our website. 

‘Since day one, Huel’s mission has been to make nutritionally complete, convenient and affordable food and we will continue to do so.’

How to save money on food and eat healthily

Your diet, including how much you eat, is a vital part of staying well.

If you’re struggling with the cost of food, we’ve set out some tips and advice on how to save and where to get help to eat healthily.

Reduce food waste

The average UK family wastes around £700 of food every year, according to the government-backed Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). 

So cutting back on your household food waste might help you save money on your food bills

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To do this, it’s important to use your instincts when it comes to products’ best-before dates, and only throw items away when they look or smell bad. 

In addition, going for loose, uncut fruit and veg should help reduce food waste as you’re more likely to buy the quantity you actually need, and you won’t have a best-before date to tempt you to dispose of it when it’s still edible. 

Batch cook

Cooking as many meals as possible in one go, and freezing any leftovers, means you only have to buy your ingredients once (providing you can buy in bulk), cook once and use your cooking facilities once.

You could also consider adding additional vegetables into dishes you’re cooking to help you from a health perspective and to help keep you full. 

Avoid convenience stores

Which? research has found regularly shopping at local supermarket convenience stores could be costing you hundreds more each year.

So it’s worth making the effort to go to a big Tesco or Sainsbury’s over a Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s Local in order to save.

Check if you’re eligible for the Healthy Start scheme

If your more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four you could get help to buy healthy food and milk with the Healthy Start scheme.

If eligible you will get a card with money loaded on it that you can use at certain shops. The card can be used to buy milk, vegetables, pulses and infant formula. Currently, Sainsbuy’s is topping up the government-funded NHS Healthy Start scheme by £2.

In Scotland you may be able to get help under the Best Start Foods scheme.

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See if you can use a food bank

Trussell Trust is the UK’s largest food bank organisation, with more than 1,200 food banks across the country. You can find your local food bank on its website.

You’ll need to be referred to a food bank, either through Jobcentre Plus, a social worker, Citizens Advice, a medical professional or your local authority. If you aren’t in touch with any of these organisations, you can still contact the food bank directly to ask for help.

Which?’s Affordable Food For All campaign

Which? has launched an Affordable Food For All campaign after it found  millions of people across the UK are struggling to access affordable food.

We’re calling on supermarkets to commit to clear pricing, better access to budget ranges that enable healthy choices and more offers for those who need them most.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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