Top firms meet to discuss kids advertising

By Karen Willmer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Kellogg

Top food and beverage companies are today expected to announce new
voluntary restrictions on marketing to children, in an
effort to preempt the implementation of new regulations.

The move comes as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hold a forum to examine the food industry's marketing practices to children, and to review the progress of actions taken so far to help combat childhood obesity. Due to last all day, the meeting will bring together food companies, such as Kraft and General Mills, with media companies and consumer groups to discuss what is currently being done to address the health crisis. Speakers from various companies will examine the progress made since the recommendations were issued last year on self-regulations for the food and beverage industries. This follows Kellogg's move last month to change its marketing practices to kids and implement nutrition standards for all products marketed to those under the age of 12. The event, Weighing In: A Check-up in Marketing, Self-Regulation and Childhood Obesity,​ will provide the opportunity for food firms to discuss the options available for them in order to avoid a complete ban in advertising. This comes as pressure is increasing on food companies to regulate their products in amidst the growing obesity crisis in the US. The Institute of Medicine last year said one-third of children in the US are at risk of obesity. Kellogg said it will implement a new set of nutrition criteria by which to market at children, and will continue to not market products to children under the age of six. The nutrition criteria set an upper threshold of less than or equal to 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of saturated fat. Products must also contain less tan or equal to 230 milligrams of sodium and labelled 12 grams of sugar. Kellogg said its nutrition criteria, which "set a new standard"​ of social responsibility,​ will also guide targeted future innovation and product development. The firm's ultimate aim is to provide consumers with "even more product choices with enhanced nutritional value".​ A voluntary self-regulation programme has been set up by eleven food companies in order to review advertising at children, including Kellogg, Kraft, McDonald's, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hershey, Masterfoods and Unilever. These companies are thought to account for more than two-thirds of children's food and beverage television advertising expenditures.

Related topics: Markets

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