European children exposed to less and less food advertising

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18/03/2014
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Brussels, March 18th 2014: According to newly released data, European children are exposed to significantly less food marketing than in 2005. Under the EU pledge (www.eu-pledge.eu) 20 companies , representing over 80% food ad spend in the EU commit to change the products they advertise to children under the age of twelve. The commitment was made in the context of the European Commission's Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.

Independent data from Accenture Media Management show how the world's biggest food brands have significantly changed the products they advertise to children in the European Union since 2005 on TV. The results demonstrate how brands are either voluntarily pulling out of or only advertising products that meet strict nutrition criteria during children's programming and that children are being exposed to considerably less advertising for all food products across all TV programming.

The latest data show how on average across all EU markets since 2005 that children are exposed to 31% less ads for EU pledge products on TV across all programming. They see 47% less ads for products that do not meet the nutrition criteria and 82% less for products not meeting the criteria in and around children's programmes. Companies' overall compliance rate with their commitments on TV was 98.1%.

The commitments also extend to schools , children's print publications, online advertising and company-owned websites. For company-owned websites, the European Advertising Standards Alliance verified 343 websites across the EU to check whether companies were directly targeting children under 12 with products not meeting the nutrition criteria. They found 22 websites to be in breach, meaning a total compliance rate of 94%.

Last year, the companies announced the development of even stricter common nutrition criteria that would determine, where applicable , what products can be advertised to children under 12. This decision was publicly applauded by the Director-General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission, Paola Testori-Coggi. These criteria will come into force at the end of 2014. The group also announced that the fast food service restaurant, the Quick Group, joined the initiative, taking coverage of EU food marketing spend to over 80%.

Said Stephan Loerke, WFA Managing Director; “Independent data show how European children are seeing less and less food ads on TV, especially for products not fulfilling strict nutrition criteria. This is important given children still spend far more time in front of TV than any other media. Going forward, we are delighted to be implementing even stricter common criteria while ensuring our commitments apply equally across other media channels, including digital. Effective coverage of online and company-owned websites is critical to ensuring the continued effectiveness of this self-regulatory initiative.”

The EU Pledge was facilitated and endorsed by the World Federation of Advertisers and is a joint industry commitment to the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health set up by the European Commission in 2005.

CLICK HERE to access an infographic which explains the commitments and the monitoring results.

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For more information, please contact Stephan Loerke at s.loerke@wfanet.org or call +32 (0)2 502 57 40

The full EU Pledge Monitoring Report can be downloaded at www.eu-pledge.eu

Note for editors:

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is the voice of marketers worldwide, representing 90% of global marketing communications spend – roughly US$700 billion per annum – through a unique, global network of the world's biggest markets and biggest marketers. WFA's champions responsible and effective marketing communications worldwide. More information at www.wfanet.org


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