Food advertising has been under the spotlight this year, amid increased political pressure to tackle the prevalence of childhood obesity.
The AA provided evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry on childhood obesity, with Stephen Woodford ultimately appearing before the Committee in May to give oral evidence.
In June, the Government published Chapter 2 of its Obesity Plan. This sets a new national ambition to halve childhood obesity rates by 2030 and significantly reduce health inequalities.
On advertising, the Government intends to consult on introducing a pre-9pm watershed on TV advertising of HFSS products and similar protection for children viewing adverts online.
The Scottish Government also published a Diet and Healthy Weight Strategy this Summer, endorsing the UK Government’s plan to consult on a pre-9pm watershed ban. There are also plans to develop a code of practice to restrict HFSS advertising on public transport and at stations, largely inspired by the recently announced ban on HFSS advertising on the Transport for London network, which we expect to be implemented in February 2019.
Meanwhile, the AA’s Food Advertising Unit has set out to make the case against disproportionately restricting advertising, while also setting out the constructive role industry can play in driving wholesale lifestyle changes. Looking ahead to 2019, we are excited to see the roll-out of ITV’s new ad campaign supporting Veg Power.
Sue Eustace, Director of Public Affairs, Advertising Association