NAD Recommends Rubbermaid Discontinue Certain Claims for Company’s ‘FreshWorks’ Produce Containers, Finds Company can Support Certain Claims; Advertiser to Appeal to NARB

New York, NY – Aug. 10, 2017  – The National Advertising Division has determined that Rubbermaid Inc. can support certain claims made for the company’s FreshWorks’ Produce Saver Containers, but recommended the advertiser discontinue certain claims that specify how much longer produce remains fresh.

Rubbermaid said it would appeal NAD’s adverse determinations to the National Advertising Review Board.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The claims at issue in this case were challenged by OXO International, Ltd., the maker of competing kitchen storage products and included:

  • “Keep produce fresh up to 80% longer.”
  • “Keeping [produce] nearly as fresh as they day it was picked.”
  • “Revolutionary FreshVent technology creates an optimal environment for fruits and vegetables by regulating the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the produce container.”
  • “FreshVent technology regulates flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide for the ideal environment.”

Rubbermaid argued that it clearly and conspicuously qualifies its claim in its commercial that “with Rubbermaid’s FreshVent technology your produce stays fresh up to 80% longer” with a disclosure that states the claim is “[b]ased on strawberries in FreshWorks containers vs. store packaging.”

Further, Rubbermaid said it expressly disclaims that the 80% benefit will be achieved for all produce and makes it clear that the represented benefit is specific to strawberries.

OXO contended that the message conveyed by Rubbermaid’s claim is that its containers keep all produce fresher for 80% longer – a message reinforced through packaging and advertising depicting its containers being used to store a variety of produce such as blueberries, lettuce and strawberries.

Following its review, NAD determined that the overarching language of the main claim tells consumers that FreshWorks containers “Keep Produce Fresh up to 80% Longer.”

In its decision, NAD noted that given the vast array of fruits and vegetables that make up the category of “produce,” coupled with the depictions of other produce in the challenged advertisements and on product packaging, Rubbermaid’s disclosure was insufficient to adequately limit the broad performance claims to strawberries.

NAD concluded that that “80%” longer freshness claim would be understood by consumers to apply to other produce, as well, a claim that was unsupported by the evidence in the record.  NAD recommended the advertise discontinue the claims “keeps produce fresh up to 80% longer” and “keep produce fresh up to 80% Longer—a difference you can see.”

NAD further determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claims that FreshWorks’ “Revolutionary FreshVent technology creates an optimal environment for fruits and vegetables by regulating the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the produce container” and “FreshVent technology regulates flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide for the ideal environment.”

Rubbermaid, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company disagreed with NAD’s findings “that Rubbermaid’s testing fails to support certain claims quantifying the benefit conferred by its FreshWorks container.” The company said it will appeal NAD’s adverse recommendations to the NARB.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.