The Swiss company has unveiled its refreshed Policy on Marketing Communication to Children, banning the direct advertising of products like biscuits, confectionery, ice cream and sugary drinks – irrespective of whether they meet the company’s nutrition criteria – to children under the age of 16.
The new version broadens the company’s 2017 Policy, which aims to ensure all kids to have a healthy start in life and prohibits product marketing communications targeting children between the ages of 0 and 6.
Under the Policy, the company doesn’t market biscuits, sugar, chocolate confectionery, water-based beverages with added sugars and ice creams to children under 13. It also doesn’t advertise these products in primary and secondary schools.
As per previous injunctions, the new standard – which comes into effect on 1 July 2023 in all markets in which the company operates – will be applied to TV and online platforms, including social media and gaming ones with greater than 25% of their audience under 16 years old.
Additionally, Nestlé promises not to solicit or collect personal data of minors, and will only partner with social media influencers over the age of 18.
Finally, it is said it will be striving to improve child nutrition by ‘coupling existing nutrition services, educational tools and recipes. These safeguards will help children and young adolescents build a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle’.
Added Marie Chantal Messier, head of Food and Industry Affairs at Nestlé, “We do not engage in direct marketing communication to children zero to six years of age.
“In our new Marketing Communication to Children policy, when directing marketing communication to children between 6 and 16 years of age, this can only be permitted with products that achieve the Nestlé Policy Nutrition Criteria.”
However, she added, the company will “not direct any marketing communication to children below 16 years of age – irrespective of the Nestlé Marketing Communication to Children Policy Nutrition Criteria being met – for the following categories: sweet and savoury biscuits, sugar confectionery, chocolate confectionery, water-based beverage products with added sugars and ice cream products.”
Call for others to follow suit
Nestlé is one of the first food companies to voluntarily adopt such strict standards. However, the Vevey-headquartered company has been recognised by the Access to Nutrition Index for its industry-leading responsible marketing practices and encouragement for others in the industry to follow suit.
Earlier this month, Nestlé pledged to share more details of the nutritional value of its portfolio of products from 2023.
It also announced plans to benchmark its products against the front-of-pack nutritional profile criteria used in various geographies, including Nutri-Score and the Health Star Rating (a government-devised nutrient-profile method currently in use in Australia and New Zealand), along with the UK Government’s partially-introduced legislation targeting products deemed high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).
Since 2017, the company said it has reduced sugar in its products by 5.1%, while fortifying them with iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc.
Nestlé also recently announced it would ban global marketing of infant formula up to six months old, to be implemented from 1 January 2023.