The publication of the Government’s long awaited Childhood Obesity Strategy today has been met with mixed views from campaigners, health experts and the public.
The strategy has been criticised for being ‘light touch’ and not going far enough in tackling the childhood obesity crisis. The measures highlighted in the strategy including
- a soft drinks levy
- an introduction of a sugar reduction programme to remove sugar from products children consume the most;
- updating the nutrient profiling model to reflect current government dietary guidelines;
- providing healthier choices in the public sector (i.e. hospitals, leisure centres etc.); and
- encouraging all primary schools to offer at least 30 minutes of physical exercise a day.
It was expected that the strategy would also include advertising restrictions such as a ban on junk food advertising pre-watershed and a restriction on multi-buy promotions on junk food.
These have been omitted from the final plan of action. This particular point has been met with a lot of criticism but of course is welcome news for the advertising industry.
Although we accept that advertising has a modest effect on children’s food preferences, we feel that advertising restrictions could make a meaningful contribution to helping tackle the issue and thus believe the CAP Consultation on food advertisement in non-broadcast media shows that the industry has already taken action. Many brand owners are already demonstrating a responsible marketing strategy for FMCG goods as a result.
Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the industry may still see restrictions in junk food ads aimed at children, however this will be through the self-regulatory process rather than government intervention which is welcomed by the IPM.
If you would like to speak to the IPM about the Obesity Strategy and what it might mean for your marketing communications, or any other comment you wish to make, please contact Carey Trevill on 020 7291 7730.