Joint initiative on kids' food advertising

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Food standards agency

Spurred on by criticism concerning the marketing of food to
children, several of Britain's leading food trade bodies have
joined forces to discuss potential solutions to the problem of
childhood obesity.

Spurred on by the rising tide of criticism concerning the marketing of food to children, several of Britain's leading food trade bodies have joined forces to discuss potential solutions to the problem of childhood obesity.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Food Advertising Unit (FAU), Food and Drink Federation (FDF), National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) said they would act together to try and tackle what is becoming an increasing cause for concern.

The food industry in the UK has come under heavy fire in recent months for promoting 'unhealthy' foods to children, contributing not insignificantly to the growing incidence of obesity among British children.

Several studies published this year by a variety of lobby groups appear to show a direct link between the advertising of sweets, snacks and other fatty foods to children and the deterioration in their health - although the industry has repeatedly stressed that it always acts responsibly when promoting products to children.

The issue took on even greater prominence last week when the government itself, via the Food Standards Agency, announced that it was to debate the issue with a view to drawing up new guidelines, and it was this announcement which spurred the associations into action.

In a joint statement, the organisations said: "We welcome the FSA's recent discussion paper on possible options regarding the promotion and advertising of foods and we look forward to taking part in this most important initiative.

The manufacturing, retail, hospitality and farming sectors will work together with the advertising industry to be part of the solution to the problems of obesity and other food and health related issues.

Only by working together, industry, government, health professionals and educators can we move forward to practical, realistic solutions which help consumers."

Among the issues likely to be raised with the FSA by the organisations is just how much involvement the legislators will have. The FDF, for example, is keen to ensure that parents, rather than the government, have the final word on what is good or bad for their children.

This means that while the FDF would welcome requirements to provide more detailed information about the nutritional value of foods aimed at children, it is likely to impose any legal restrictions on what can and cannot be promoted directly to children.

Related topics: Ingredients

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