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CAP launches a new review of food advertising rules

/ April 4th 2018
High Fat, Salt and Sugar Food & Drink Advertising

Regulations on TV advertising were introduced over a decade ago in response to evidence of TV advertising’s modest direct effect on children’s immediate food preferences.

The rules, as they stand, ban the inclusion of ads for high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products in children’s media and any other media of particular appeal to children.

New non-broadcast rules were introduced in July 2017, extending these restrictions to non-broadcast media, including companies’ advertising on their own websites and social media spaces as part of a wider effort to tackle childhood obesity and respond to the reality of children’s multi-media lives.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for writing the UK advertising rules, has today announced two initiatives that will:

  • Examine thoroughly evidence around the impact of TV HFSS food advertising on children
  • Review tightened restrictions, introduced last year, around HFSS food and soft drink advertising in non-broadcast media

This will help inform CAP’s work in ensuring the advertising rules are in the right place, are being followed by advertisers and continue to be effective in protecting children.

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association, commented:

While the UK already has some of the toughest advertising regulations in the world, as media consumption patterns change we need to ensure these remain fit for purpose, so we welcome the announcement from CAP on their call for evidence on HFSS advertising to children and a review of non-broadcast advertising rules.

Exposure of under 16s to HFSS advertising has fallen dramatically since comprehensive TV advertising restrictions were put in place over a decade ago and extended to cover all media in 2017. But the obesity rate among children has continued to rise over the same period, which demonstrates the complexity of other factors contributing to childhood obesity, such as demographics and socio-economic background.

Our industry remains committed to meeting the highly complex issues around childhood obesity and looks forward to working with CAP, the ASA and Government to meet this public health challenge.

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