News Children's Food Campaign

Our response to new rules restricting junk food marketing on children's media

Children's Food Campaign responds to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)'s publication of new rules restricting the placement of junk food marketing to children in non-broadcast children's media.  

Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, said:

“The Committee of Advertising Practice has finally listened to the voices of parents and health professionals, after years of resisting calls for stronger measures to reduce children’s exposure to junk food marketing online. The new rules, which prohibit less healthy food and drink being advertised across all forms of children’s media, are a positive step and go some way to removing the most blatant forms of such advertising to under 16s.”

“But CAP has failed to learn the lessons from industry’s exploitation of loopholes in TV advertising regulations.  Just as many of the TV programmes most watched by children aren’t covered by the rules, so it looks like many of the most popular social media sites won’t be either; neither will billboards near schools, or product packaging itself.”

“Unfortunately, the power still seems to be very much in the hands of manufacturers and advertisers, not parents.  Instead of a comprehensive and transparent definition of what constitutes marketing ‘directly appealing to children’, which Children’s Food Campaign proposed, CAP will only apply the restrictions when children are over 25% of the audience. This figure provides insufficient protection to children, whilst giving parents little knowledge of what is and isn’t covered. Parents will also be disappointed to find out there will be no restrictions on sugary food and drink emblazoned with children’s favourite cartoon or film characters, or in the use of child-friendly brand characters on packaging either.”

“Ultimately, the new rules are only as good as the body which enforces them.  We hope that from July 2017 CAP and the Advertising Standards Authority will ensure companies follow both the letter and the spirit of these new rules, and close any loopholes which arise.”

Published Thursday 8 December 2016

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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