Launch of public consultation on new food ad rules

Today the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has launched a public consultation on introducing new non-broadcast rules on how food and soft drink products are advertised to children.

The action comes in response to “wider societal concerns around childhood obesity”.

Introducing non-broadcast rules would not affect television advertising, but would apply to advertising online, in a move CAP hopes would “ensure the advertising rules reflect changing media habits amongst young people”.

According to research from Ofcom in 2015, 96 per cent of 12- to 15-year-olds spend more time online than watching TV.

The main proposals are to:

  • Limit where advertising for food and soft drink products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS products) can be placed in all non-broadcast media, including traditional and online media
  • Explore through consultation whether the new rule should prohibit HFSS product advertising in media targeted at or of particular appeal to children under 12 or under 16
  • Apply the existing rules prohibiting the use of promotions and licensed characters and celebrities popular with children to HFSS product advertising only, allowing more creative ways for healthier foods to be advertised to children

Chairman of CAP, James Best said:

Too many children in the UK are growing up overweight or even obese, potentially damaging their health in later life and imposing a high cost on society. Advertising is just one small factor in a very complex equation but we believe we can play a positive part in addressing an urgent societal challenge. In proposing new rules, our aim is to strike the right balance between protecting children and enabling businesses to continue advertising their products responsibly.

CAP invite and welcome responses, in particular from individuals and organisations who have an interest or expertise in the policy issues involved.

The consultation closes at 5pm on 22 July 2016

Author: Christopher Hall

You can read more on this consultation by clicking here