Coles has been banned from making half-baked claims about its bread, after the Federal Court ruled that "baked today" claims in advertising were misleading.
For the next three years the supermarket giant can no longer advertise that its bread was “baked today”. It's not clear what will happen after that period.
Federal Court Chief Justice James Allsop today handed down the ruling as well as ordering Coles to display a Federal Court notice, both in store and online, citing that it had broken Australian consumer law by falsely advertising bread products as "freshly baked" and "baked today".
The case previously appeared in front of Chief Justice Allsop in June, where he found the supermarket chain guilty of misleading consumers with claims its bread and rolls were baked in-house despite being shipped frozen from overseas.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched action against the supermarket chain last year after consumers – led by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett – began to question the veracity of the claims.
Coles had claimed that because the baking process had been completed in ovens in store, the promotions were acceptable.
Consumer rights group Choice has welcomed the verdict with its head of media Tom Godfrey saying: “Credence claims such as 'freshly baked' or 'baked today' can lead consumers to pay a premium in the mistaken belief they are purchasing a superior product.”
“Consumers should have confidence that there is truth in product labels. The Court decision over Coles' conduct is a step forward for consumers and sets a very strong standard that misleading and deceptive representation will not be taken lightly," Godfrey said.
The court is yet to make a decision on whether to fine Coles, which could see it face penalties of more than $3 million.
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