Sustain's chief executive Kath Dalmeny responds to errors in City AM article that critiqued Mayor of London’s Healthier Food Advertising Policy
It’s a shame that Saqib Qureshi didn’t do some fact checking before writing his article (“TFL junk food ad ban was clearly a recipe for failure” Tuesday 25 February 2020) because it carries some major errors. Among them - far from costing the taxpayer £13 million, Transport for London has confirmed its advertising revenue has increased by £1 million over the last year. Further, Mr Qureshi criticises the Mayor of London for conducting no meaningful consultation. In fact, extensive public consultation took place in 2018 including polling, online surveys, discussion forums and focus groups which found that 82% of Londoners support the policy. And an independently funded team has been appointed to review and measure the scheme.
I am a good food advocate and member of the London Food Board, but most importantly a parent. As a result of this policy, businesses are replacing adverts for fatty, sugar-filled products with healthier food and drinks - without losing revenue for the transport network. This supports parents in promoting healthier food choices, rather than making food choices a constant battle ground. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Let’s not forget, London has one of the highest rates of child obesity in Europe. Our Mayor and many businesses, schools, hospitals and institutions across the city are taking a range of bold steps to turn the tide on junk food and sugary drinks. Let's all put children’s health first.
Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive of Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming
Notes to editors
- TfL’s advertising revenue has increased by £1 million in the first quarter - https://mediatel.co.uk/news/2019/11/15/tfl-ad-revenues-unscathed-by-junk-food-ban/
- Consultation report from The London Food Strategy which includes details for the consultation on this policy - https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/appendix_b_-_consultation_report_final_09.01.19.pdf
- Details of the independently funded academic evaluation of the policy - https://www.london.gov.uk/questions/2019/6370
- Saqib Qureshi's opinion piece in City AM - https://www.cityam.com/the-tfl-junk-food-ad-ban-was-clearly-a-recipe-for-failure/
Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. We represent around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level. www.sustainweb.org
Sustain has advised the Mayor of London’s team on the implementation of the Healthier Food Advertising Policy across the TfL network since 2018.
About Children’s Food Campaign:
Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) aims to improve children and young people's health by campaigning for policy changes in our schools, in our communities and throughout our society that would promote healthy and sustainable food environments. The Children's Food Campaign is supported by over 100 UK-wide and national organisations, including children’s and health charities and professional bodies, trade unions, school food experts and environmental organisations. It is a project of the charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. www.childrensfood.org.uk
Published 2 Mar 2020
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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