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October 5, 2020

Tide Purclean — Not Quite So Pure

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:24 am

Many people are attracted to products that are environmentally-friendly, and that may have motivated P&G to come out with Tide Purclean — the first plant-based laundry detergent.

Tide Purclean - old

Seventh Generation, the maker of various natural products including its own brand of “powered by plants” detergent, brought a challenge against P&G’s claims to the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. It argued that the combination of the unmodified plant-based claim, leaf design, and some language on the back of the bottle might give consumers the false impression that the product was 100% plant-based. It also complained this commercial did not clearly enough disclose that the product is only 75% plant-based.

NAD in its decision agreed, recommending that when the term “plant-based” is used the advertiser should clearly and conspicuously disclose the limitations of the claim, namely, that the product is “75% plant-based” and avoid the implication that the product is 100% plant-based when in fact some ingredients are petroleum-based.

This is a newer version of the bottle label introduced before NAD’s decision was handed down.


Tide Purclean - new

While improved over the old label, most shoppers will miss the fact that the product is only 75% plant-based. By comparison, the plant-based variety of Seventh Generation is 97% plant-based. But according to Consumer Reports, both Tide Purclean and a non-plant-based version of Seventh Generation are tied with lousy scores — 54 out of 100.

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  1. Honest to goodness, I really understand some people’s want to buy healthier greener things, but people are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we are not ready to eliminate petroleum entirely yet.

    Electric cars are a great way to reduce our reliance on petroleum for gas, but the world of science and technology doesn’t have a good cheap alternative for oil in liquids or plastics. Seventh Generation obviously makes a great attempt at it, but just look at this article, even with 25% non-plant based detergent the best P&G could get was a 54…

    Comment by Joel — October 5, 2020 @ 10:32 am
  2. For comparison, U.S. law allows identifying a wine as a varietal if is made from anything more than 50% of that variety. Oregon requires 75% for wine produced there.

    Comment by Paul — October 5, 2020 @ 2:59 pm
  3. To me “plant based” means the largest set of ingredients are made of plants.

    A soup can be “chicken broth based” and isn’t 100% chicken broth.

    I disagree with the ruling (and mouseprint’s pointing it out)

    Comment by Robert — October 6, 2020 @ 10:11 am
  4. It’s not required to eliminate 100% of fossil fuel usage. The planet could handle some greenhouse gas emissions just fine.

    Comment by MarcK1024 — October 6, 2020 @ 10:18 am
  5. I’m not here to argue about climate changes etc., but why couldn’t they simply add ‘75%’ in front of ‘Plant Based’? Let me show you with my limited editing skill:

    Problem solved. No mouse print or asterisk needed.
    The only reason they didn’t do so is, without a doubt, to mislead consumers into believing it’s 100% and not just 75%. That’s why Mouse Print pointed it out.
    Sometimes I wonder if people from the industry are commenting here, but this site is for consumers. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by McCaud — October 17, 2020 @ 5:49 pm

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