Lessons from Coles' Bakery Label Finding

4 May 2015

Last month the Federal Court of Australia fined Coles $2.5 million for misleading consumers with "freshly baked" bread claims dating back to 2013.

Coles’ in-store bread was labelled with claims such as “Baked Today”, “Sold Today”, “Freshly Baked”, “Baked Fresh”, “Freshly Baked In-Store”, and “Coles Bakery”.

The Federal Court decided that Coles had breached Australian consumer law by using misleading and deceptive conduct, because packaging and in-store signage would mislead the public into assuming the bread was prepared and baked onsite, when the products had been par-baked off-site, frozen, and then "finished" at a Coles supermarket.

Simpson Grierson has summarised the court’s finding and points to the lessons for New Zealand companies as being:

  • the need for all advertisers and marketers to be vigilant in ensuring advertisements are accurate, truthful and clear to consumers
  • the overall impression of advertisements is accurate and must not mislead or be likely to mislead consumers
  • companies are able to substantiate their claims at the time the claim is made
  • they respect the generally-accepted principle of fair competition in business.

Read Simpson Grierson's report here