Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday (12 February).
Leading producers from the beer, wine and spirits sectors are set today (16 April) to launch their first joint initiative in advertising self-regulation designed to combat abuses across the fast-growing social media.
Alcohol consumption among young people increases as a result of advertising campaigns and the EU should promote more responsible marketing, stakeholders agreed this week. But responsibility for dealing with the issue lies with member states and the European Commission has no intention of harmonising legislation in this regard.
Intrusive marketing practices brought on by the Internet have attracted the attention of the European Parliament, with lawmakers concerned about guaranteeing citizens' privacy, said Philippe Juvin MEP in an interview with EURACTIV.
While the food industry has taken a series of initiatives to restrict advertising of unhealthy products to children, consumer groups are not convinced and call for the development of stricter criteria. EURACTIV hears arguments from both sides of the debate in parallel interviews.
Efforts by Sweden to tackle alcohol abuse in Europe look set to come to the boil during the latter half of its six-month EU presidency. The drinks industry is gearing up for a counter-offensive against an expected push to increase prices and restrict alcohol advertising.
European institutions in Brussels could learn from advertisers in better promoting the benefits of EU membership to citizens, argues Gary Leih, CEO of Ogilvy UK and President of the European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA) in an interview with EURACTIV.
The alcohol industry, doctors, publishers and NGOs alike have pledged a series of actions to promote responsible drinking, curb under-age alcohol consumption and promote behavioural change among adolescents.
Eleven major food and beverage companies, including Nestlé and Coca-Cola, have jointly pledged to change the way they advertise to children. The commitment follows Commission calls to restrict advertising of unhealthy foods as childhood obesity is rapidly increasing in the EU.
A Parliament proposal to encourage cuts in CO2 emissions from new vehicles by introducing "tobacco-style" environmental warnings in car advertisements has caused outrage among Europe's media corporations, who say such measures could cause serious harm to their business.
The use of 'traffic lights' to identify products that are high, medium or low in salt, sugar and fat is one of the schemes under discussion for unified EU food labelling. Industry, however, opposes the proposal.
Consumer advocates from Germany are criticising the Commission's Issues Paper on the TV without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive, which they say would end a ban on secretive product placement in TV productions.