Junk food ads targeting children banned in non-broadcast media
Junk food adverts aimed at children are to be banned online, in print and in the cinema after a detailed consultation on the damage they do by encouraging children to eat fattening and unhealthy food.
The announcement of curbs in non-broadcast media by the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) was greeted with relief by health campaigners, who have long been frustrated by the deluge of ads for sweets, sugary drinks and fat-laden foods aimed at children, especially via their smartphones, often in the form of games. There was an outcry when the government’s obesity strategy published in the summer did not address the advertising issue.
The ruling was a start but did not go far enough, health organisations said. It will stop adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar in entertainment and publications explicitly for children but not in those for adults or families unless children make up more than 25% of the audience.
Cartoon characters and celebrities will be banned from promotional material but not food packaging, meaning they will still be seen on the boxes of sugar-laden breakfast cereals.