Ferrero USA has joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) – pledging not to advertise its products to children under 12.
The Nutella and Tic Tac maker has joined the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ (BBB) self-regulatory program to stop directly advertising to kids.
Ferrero joins other major confectioners like The Hershey Company and Mars in its pledge – taking the total participants up to 18.
“We are very happy to welcome Ferrero USA as our newest participant,” said Elaine Kolish, BBB vice president and CFBAI director.
“Joining with the other seventeen CFBAI members demonstrates Ferrero’s commitment to the health of the nation’s children,” she continued.
Ferrero already operates in line with the global policy on marketing and advertising to children defined by the International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA).
On its website, Ferrero said that parents play a “crucial role” in educating their children on a balanced diet and healthy, active lifestyle therefore advertising and marketing is directed primarily to these adults making the household purchasing decisions, as well as children over the age of 12.
Curbing junk food marketing thwarted by commercial interests
However, such industry-backed voluntary schemes aren’t considered quite enough for some industry commentators. Former government health expert Dr William D. Dietz recently wrote in an article published in Health Affairs that the food industry has repeatedly thwarted federal efforts to curb junk food marketing to kids.
He acknowledged that while industry-backed voluntary schemes like the CBFAI do exist and work to an extent , he claimed that the CFBAI based its maximal nutrient levels more on the current products marketed by its members than on a judgment about what was best for children.
He added that while the childhood obesity epidemic has started to level off, it still affects 17% of children ages 2-9 and there is a distinct link between obesity and television advertising.
“A direct relationship also exists between television viewing and the consumption of advertised food – which is high in sugar, salt and fat,” he wrote.