HFSS products are food or drink products that are assessed as being high in fat, salt or sugar in accordance with the Department of Health nutrient profiling model. HFSS products should not be confused with junk food, as the terms can mean different things. In response to concerns about childhood obesity, the CAP and BCAP Codes place restrictions on the placement and content of HFSS product advertisements.
Advertisements for HFSS products are prohibited from appearing during or adjacent to TV programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16 and cannot appear in non-broadcast children’s media or media where the audience is more than 25% under-16s. Additionally, where the content is likely to be seen as directly targeting under-12s, it cannot include promotions, or licensed characters or celebs popular with under-16s. These restrictions apply to ads that promote HFSS products directly and those that have the effect of promoting specific HFSS products through the use of ‘branding’ that is synonymous with a HFSS product or a range of products that is mainly HFSS.
Identifying brand advertising that has the effect of promoting an HFSS product is not always easy. This guidance sets out some scenarios and provides a view on whether the content described would be likely or unlikely to be regarded as a HFSS product advertisement.