The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) is considering implementing rules that will see three quarters of breakfast cereals banned from advertising on children’s television programmes, according to the Irish Breakfast Cereal Association (IBCA).
BAI’s Draft Children’s Commercial Code proposes measures to crackdown on high fat and high sugar products that are contributing to childhood obesity in Ireland.
The Draft includes a proposal to ban adverts during children’s programmes which promote products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).
Such products are those that fall above a formula set out in the UK Food Standards Agency’s Nutrient Profile Model.
The draft says “most breakfast cereals” as well as a host of fried foods and confectionery products would be considered less healthy under the Model.
For the purposes of the draft code, a children’s programme is said to be one where over 50% of the viewers are under 18.
IBCA: Ban covers majority of programmes
IBCA secretary Shane Dempsey told BakeryAndSnacks.com: “Few programmes have under 50% of viewers under 18.”
“You just won’t be able to advertise breakfast cereals during children’s programming.”
Based on FSA’s Nutrient Profile Model
He said that the IBCA disputed the proposal which did not fit for Ireland.
“The BAI has based this regulation on systems from the UK. Breakfast cereals make a big contribution to the Irish economy. This is sending mixed messages to the Irish population.”
Food Industry in Ireland (FDII) director Paul Kelly said: "The nutrition model in the code is simply copy and pasted from the UK, without any reference to valuable Irish research on the subject.
“The UK system is unscientific, out-of-date and based on the concept of a 100g measure rather than on the actual amount people eat.
“This means that foods such as dairy and cereal products, which are vitally important to Irish children's diets, are classified as unhealthy.”
Dempsey added that even the most sugar cereals contained less sugar than an apple.
Few cereal ads
Dempsey continued that advertising of breakfast cereals on kid’s TV was fairly low.
The number of ads on Irish children’s programmes promoting HFSS products fell from 36% in 2002 to 7% in 2009, according to an IBCA survey.
The draft rules will now undergo an 8-week consultation period where the BAI will consult stakeholders such as major cereal manufacturers Nestle and Kellogg.
Nestle and Kellogg were asked what recommendations they would be making, but a response was not forthcoming before publication.
The new code is expected to enter force on 1 January 2013.