Complaint against Aston Manor’s Frosty Jack’s Cider not upheld

A recent complaint about Aston Manor’s Frosty Jack’s Cider was not upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel. A copy of the full decision is available here.

The complainant, a member of the public, complained about the product on the grounds that, they felt, it had appeal to under-18s, due to apple imagery and a link to popular children’s character, Jack Frost, depicted images of people who are, or appear, under 25 years old on its packaging and, due to the bottle’s 2.5L size, encouraged immoderate consumption.

Members of the public are free to submit complaints regarding the naming, packaging and promotion of any alcoholic drinks to the Portman Group, these complaints will then be reviewed by the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) under the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks.

The Panel considered whether the product encouraged immoderate consumption, per Rule 3.2(f), and concluded that the labelling on the bottle was clear about its alcohol content  and considered Portman Group guidance which highlights that the majority of consumers understand bottles of over 2 litres are designed to be shared or consumed over more than one sitting.

The ICP considered the product under Rule 3.2(h), appeal to under 18s, and determined that association with apples on cider products is reasonable. They also noted that there was no depiction of a Jack Frost character and the product’s plain and muted colour palette did not have the high-contrast and bright colours usually associated with appeal to children.

Finally, the considered the product under 3.2(j), depiction of people who appear under-25 on a drink, packaging or any promotional material, and noted that product did not show images of people under the age of 25, therefore the product did not breach this rule.

Commenting on the decision the Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Jenny Watson CBE, said:

“After considering both the complainant’s perspective, as well as the company’s subsequent submission, the Panel determined that Frosty Jack’s Cider was not in breach of the Code. We acknowledge the complainant’s concern but after careful consideration, we concluded that when contextualised appropriately the product did not breach the Code.

Regarding the decision Simon Russell, Communication and Engagement Manager at Aston Manor= Cider, commented:

It is right that there is a robust and independent process to consider complaints as part of the wider work to ensure that all involved in the drinks industry adhere to appropriate standards. It is something we are committed to support in our marketing and communication and in all areas of our operations.

“In this instance we did not feel that the claims made were merited and we are grateful that the independent panel considered the detailed evidence we provided. The very small ‘white cider’ category receives undue attention that is not informed by data or appropriate context and opinions can be skewed as a consequence.

“Ensuring producers and retailers uphold appropriate standards and developing effective and proportionate approaches to tackle the misuse of a minority are parallel and important issues for us. Both ambitions are only served if the public debate is balanced, based on evidence and recognises the relevant context. We will continue to play our part to deliver precisely this.”