Major food companies agree new self-regulatory controls on food marketing globally

Major food companies agree new self-regulatory controls on food marketing globally

Industry issues
3 minute read

Chocolates, candies/confectionery, potato crisps, soft drinks and ice creams will no longer be advertised to children under the age of 13.

Article details

  • Author:WFA

    WFA

News
3 August 2021

IFBA committment

Eleven of the largest global food and drinks brands have agreed to further restrict advertising to children of products high in fat, sugar and salt, which means children globally will see less ads for products that don’t meet certain nutritional criteria.  

Among other changes, five entire categories will no longer be advertised to children under the age of 13: chocolates, candies/confectionery, potato crisps, soft drinks and ice creams.

The new restrictions are part of the International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA)’s 2021 Global Responsible Marketing policy, which replaces the previous rules agreed in 2014.

The new agreement was reached following intensive negotiations spearheaded over the course of the past eighteen months by WFA, and is supported by The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg, Mars, Mondel─ôz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

The objective is to drive change in how and what IFBA-member companies advertise. Its key goal is to reduce the impact on children of marketing foods high in fat, sugar or salt, and ensure that marketing communications are aligned with the promotion of balanced diets and healthy, active lifestyles.

This is in keeping with the core ethos of WFA’s flagship Responsible Advertising and Children Programme, which states that companies and brands must take a “beyond compliance” approach to help to future-proof their ability to connect with consumers in a sustainable way.

The new policy differs in five key areas from its 2014 predecessor: 

  1. The policy now extends to children under the age of 13, rather than 12 years, aligning with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) definition of a child and digital marketing regulations such as COPPA and GDPR.
  2. The definition of children’s media has been tightened by defining the audience as 30% under 13, rather than 35% under 12. 
  3. A set of global common nutrition criteria has been introduced, which governs what products can be advertised to children under 13. 
  4. Influencer marketing has been added to the range of media covered. 
  5. The policy embeds the qualitative requirements from the ICC Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications which ensure, for instance, that snacks should not be presented as meals, that appropriate portion sizes are represented, and that ads support — rather than undermine — good dietary habits.

There will be a transition period with the new rules coming into force on January 1 2022. This will give IFBA member companies time for internal training, briefing agencies and ensure that the rules are being applied in all markets. After that, IFBA plan on monitoring member compliance with the commitment.

Between 2009 and 2017, third-party independent monitoring of IFBA members across five continents, has found an average compliance rate of 96.6% for television, 100% for print and 99.5% for internet advertising.

“This is a major step forward in the ongoing journey that the food and non-alcoholic drinks industry is taking to improve the types of foods and drinks advertised to children,” said Will Gilroy, WFA Director of Policy and Communications. “By adopting global nutrition criteria, we hope that this will make a very real and tangible difference to the types of ads children see in all markets around the world.”

For more information, contact Will Gilroy at will@wfanet.org

Article details

  • Author:WFA

    WFA

News
3 August 2021

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