According to new research, European children are exposed to less food marketing on TV today than ten years ago.
Independent data from Accenture Media Management shows that the world’s biggest food brands have significantly changed the way they advertise products to children on TV since 2005 in the EU.
According to the data, many brands have either voluntarily pulled food advertisements or are only advertising products that meet strict nutrition criteria during children’s programming. This means that children today are being exposed to considerably less publicity for all food products across all TV programming, the researchers found.
On average, children across the EU today are exposed to 31% fewer advertisements for EU pledge products on TV across all programming. They see 47% fewer ads for products that do not meet the nutrition criteria and 82% fewer for products not meeting the criteria in and around children’s programmes.
Under an EU pledge, 20 companies which represent over 80% of food publicity spending in the EU have committed to change the products they advertise to children under the age of twelve.
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," which was set up by the European Commission in 2005.
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 and found 22 websites to be in breach.
Research has shown that advertising and marketing have an influence on people's choices of food although there is no reference figure.
2007's Audiovisual Media Services Directive calls for a responsible self-regulatory approach to food advertising. An EU regulation on nutrition and health claims made on food, adopted in 2006, aims to protect consumers from unfair commercial practices by ensuring that any claim made on labelling or marketing of food is clear, accurate and based on scientific evidence.
An EU White Paper on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health issues, adopted also in 2007, endorsed the existing voluntary approach to food marketing and advertising at EU level, but stressed that the situation would be reviewed in 2010.
In the framework of the EU platform on diet, physical activity and health, industry has made a number of commitments regarding marketing and advertising of foods, but also on consumer information, labelling and education.
- Public health: EU platform for action on diet, physical activity and health
- World Federation of Advertisers: EU Pledge: Nutrition criteria
- World Federation of Advertisers: European Commission welcomes new EU Pledge nutrition criteria