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Home Policy and public affairs WCRF International Food Policy Framework for Healthy Diets: NOURISHING Restrict food advertising and other forms of commercial promotion

Restrict food advertising and other forms of commercial promotion

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This table provides examples of the types of policy action that can be taken within this policy area, examples of where these policy actions have been implemented, and a brief description of what the action involves. It provides a global snapshot, largely of policies already implemented; it is not necessarily comprehensive. The examples were collated through a review of international reports of policy actions around the world, academic articles reporting on policy actions, and online government resources.

We welcome feedback. Please contact us at policy@wcrf.org if you would like to add any further examples of implemented policies, see the policy documents that we reference, or have any further questions or comments.


Examples of policy actions Government What the action involves
Mandatory regulation of broadcast food advertising to children Ireland Advertising and other forms of commercial communication of unhealthy foods, as defined by a nutrient profiling model, are prohibited during children’s TV and radio programmes where over 50% of audience are under-18. Content rules also apply to commercial communications for unhealthy foods broadcast outside of children’s programmes but which are directed at children.
South Korea TV advertising is prohibited for specific categories of food before, during and after programmes shown between 5-7pm and during other children’s programmes. The restriction also applies to communication that is assumed to target children (e.g. where free toys are included).
United Kingdom Advertising of unhealthy foods, as defined by a nutrient profiling model, is prohibited during TV and radio programmes that have 20% more viewers under 16 years old relative to the general viewing population (includes sponsorship of TV programmes).
Mandatory regulation of food advertising on non-broadcast communications channels South Korea The regulation of TV advertisements also applies to the Internet (see above).
Mandatory regulation of specific food marketing techniques Ireland The 2005 Children's Advertising Code states that food advertising to children under the age of 15 must not feature celebrities.
United Kingdom Product placement is covered by restrictions on broadcast advertising (see above).
Mandatory regulation of food marketing in schools Spain In 2011 the Spanish Parliament approved a Law on Nutrition and Food Safety, which stated that kindergartens and schools should be free from advertising. Implementation, which is reportedly not enforced, is at the discretion of regional authorities.
United States In 2007, the state of Maine passed a law prohibiting brand-specific advertising of certain unhealthy foods and beverages on school grounds, at any time. The ban applies to “foods of minimum nutritional value” as defined by federal law.
Mandatory requirement that advertisements must carry a health message or warning France All television advertising (targeted at children or adults) for processed foods and drinks, or food and drinks containing added fats, sweeteners and/or salt, must be accompanied by a message on the principles of dietary education as approved by the National Institute of Health Education. The messages were defined by a 2007 Decree: "For your health, eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day"; "For your health, exercise regularly"; "For your health, avoid eating too many foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt"; "For your health, avoid snacking between meals".
Framework legislation is in place for the regulation of food marketing to children Chile In 2012, the Chilean government approved a “Law of Food Labeling and Advertising.” The government convened an expert committee on children’s marketing and requested them to develop regulatory norms to implement the law with the aim of reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising. The norms have been developed as part of the same process of developing norms on "warning labels" (see "N") but not implemented.
Peru In 2013, the "Promoting Healthy Food for Children Act" was passed into law in Peru. The law includes a range of provisions designed to discouraged unhealthy diets, including food advertising. The law states that advertising that is directed to children and adolescents under 16 years old and is disseminated through any format or media, should not stimulate the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks, with "trans" fat, high content of sugar, sodium and saturated fats. The law requires implementing regulations in order to be applied.
Government engage with industry to develop self-regulation Latvia In 2011, the Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Federation of Food Enterprises and the soft drink business association to encourage changes to children-oriented soft drink advertising.
Norway The government already restricts all broadcast advertising to children through legislation in Norway. A voluntary initiative agreed in 2013 calls on industry to follow standards (set largely by government) on a further range of communications channels. It applies to marketing to children under the age of 13.
Spain A voluntary Code developed between government and industry sets general guidelines and restricts product placement and use of celebrities in food advertising for signatories.
Government support voluntary pledges developed by industry European Commission Thailand
United States
Governments have stated they support the implementation of "pledges" developed by food companies which restrict advertising of foods (varies by company) to children under age 12 through specified communications channels (typically TV, radio and Internet).

Table last updated: 29/01/2014

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