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New food rules to protect children

8 December 2016

Children and food iconThe Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced tough new rules banning the advertising of high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food or drink products in children’s media. The rules, which apply to media targeted at under-16s, come into effect on 1 July 2017.

In summary, the new rules mean:

  • Ads that directly or indirectly promote an HFSS product cannot appear in children’s media
  • Ads for HFSS products cannot appear in other media where children make up over 25% of the audience
  • Ads for HFSS products will not be allowed to use promotions, licensed characters and celebrities popular with children; advertisers may now use those techniques to better promote healthier options.

The ban will apply in traditional and online children’s media, from magazines and cinema to social media and advergames. Together with restrictions already in place for TV, the rules now extend across all devices and technology popular with children ensuring that regulation remains in step with their changing lives and media habits. New research published by Ofcom shows children aged 5-15 are spending around 15 hours each week online – overtaking time spent watching TV for the first time.

The new rules also come in response to wider concerns in society about childhood obesity and the public health challenges it poses. CAP believes that even a very small positive impact from these new ad restrictions could play a meaningful role in reducing the number of ads for HFSS food and drinks seen by children and potential harms.

Find out more about CAP’s announcement.

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