Kids’ milkshake brand Nesquik has been banned from claiming its hot chocolate is a ‘great way to start the day’ by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ad on Asda’s own-brand milk labels for Nesquik hot chocolate featured the Nesquik bunny cartoon character stirring a cup of the drink underneath the logo “For a great start to the day!”

The Children’s Food Campaign complained that the ad, in particular the bunny character and the “great start” claim, encouraged poor dietary habits in children.

A 200ml serving of Nesquik Hot Chocolate contains 20.3g of sugar and pressure group the Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) complained it was not a “suitable regular breakfast option for children”.

The ASA considered the claim “For a great start to the day”, a general health claim in the context in which it appeared, as well as “Nutri-Start Vit D, Zinc and Iron complementing milk”, suggested Nesquik hot chocolate was suitable as a regular breakfast option for children.

Nestle UK said the Nesquik bunny had been carefully designed to promote a “physically active, energetic character who could promote a healthy lifestyle”.

It said the label was targeted at adults who were shopping for their family, rather than at children, adding that the ad’s positioning on the label meant the majority, if not all of it, could not be seen when the milk sat on the supermarket shelf. It claims that it was therefore unlikely that children would have been exposed to it before it was purchased.

Nestle UK added that the claim “For a great start to the day!” highlighted Nesquik as a potential breakfast option for the whole family, alongside other breakfast foods. This did not imply it was the only option, that it should be exclusive to breakfast, consumed every day, or multiple times a week/day.

It suggested the claim suggested a general enjoyment associated with consuming the product, rather than implying any health benefit.

Asda said it had no part in creating or approving the ad.

ASA ruled that the ad must not appear in its current form and told Nestle UK and Asda to ensure future ads did not encourage poor nutritional habits in children.

An Asda spokesperson said: “We respect the ASA’s decision and will work with our suppliers to ensure the ruling is adhered to in future marketing.”

A Nestlé UK spokesperson said: “We are committed to advertising responsibly and as a result we are disappointed with the ASA’s ruling. The advert for NESQUIK Hot Chocolate shown on the label of a family-sized bottle of milk was undoubtedly targeted at adults who were shopping for their family, making it clear that the product should be consumed over a number of days, rather than in excess.

”We therefore do not believe the advert encouraged poor nutritional habits in children. We wholeheartedly believe that “For a great start to the day!” is an appropriate statement. However, we always listen to concerns when they are raised. Therefore, as a responsible manufacturer and to remove any ambiguity in future, we will no longer use the statement: ‘For a great start to the day!’ in our UK advertisements and are actively looking for solutions to help us reduce sugar.”