Ragu Pasta Sauce

January 11th, 2017

Pasta can be messy. So too can sorting out the taste-preference claims that companies use to sell their sauces, as evidenced by the latest NAD decision involving Prego and Ragu.

In print, broadcast, and internet advertising challenged by Prego, Ragu boasted that “even Prego users prefer the taste of Ragu Homestyle Traditional over Prego Traditional.” (Four years ago, it was the other way around.)

The statement was backed by a test taste that NAD said satisfied much of its criteria for such taste-preference claims — including that the experiment be double-blind, compare products with similar shelf life, and present and test products in the same way — save for one factor: It “fell short” in testing the right population.

Whereas the term “Prego users” conveys a group of people who regularly choose Prego as their go-to pasta sauce, NAD argued, the test population also included people who only occasionally buy Prego, such as once every three months.

NAD recommended that Ragu discontinue the claim and the company said that it would comply with the decision.

Find more of our coverage on pasta here.

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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