Today, we’re issuing a consultation on the implementation of new rules further limiting food and drink advertising to children on TV, and in on-demand programme services (ODPS) and paid online ad media.
In 2022, the UK Government introduced legislation mandating additional restrictions on ads for “less healthy” food and drink products aiming to further mitigate the potential impact of advertising on children’s dietary choices. Ofcom is the statutory body responsible for the new restrictions and the ASA has been appointed as the frontline regulator. Rules reflecting the new restrictions will be incorporated into the UK Advertising Codes.
The new less healthy product rules will come into effect from October 2025. They will prohibit ads for identifiable less healthy products from being included in Ofcom-regulated TV services and ODPS between 5:30am and 9:00pm, and from being placed in paid-for space in online media at any time. Less healthy products are a subset of products classified as high fat, salt or sugar (“HFSS”), which have been subject to dedicated restrictions in the UK Advertising Codes since 2007. The less healthy product rules will form a new tier of rules in addition to CAP and BCAP’s existing HFSS rules.
This consultation covers three areas that support the implementation of the new restrictions:
- guidance to accompany the new rules to enable advertisers, media owners and practitioners to apply them;
- transposition of the legislation into new UK Advertising Code rules for each of the restrictions; and
- technical updates to the existing rules to ensure interoperability of the less healthy product rules with the existing rules on HFSS advertising.
The consultation does not cover the underlying policy basis for the new restrictions, or the provisions already established by legislation. These were addressed through the extensive process of consultation undertaken by Government up to 2021.
The consultation is open to all stakeholders including members of the public and will run for 8 weeks closing on 7 February 2024 at 5:00pm.
See the consultation page.