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Food advertising to kids down 93% in EU - report

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Accenture Media Services today, Friday, 11 September 2009, is presenting figures to the European Commission which show the extent to which companies have voluntarily restricted the foods they advertise to under-12s altogether or only to ‘better for you' options. According to the data, the food industry has significantly changed the types of products it advertises to children across the EU.
These results form the first monitoring report of the EU pledge, a commitment taken by 11 food manufacturers (Burger King, Coca-Cola, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Kellogg's, Kraft Foods, Mars, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever) in December 2007 to change the products they advertise to children under 12 years.

Representing approximately two-thirds of the food advertising market in the EU, company commitments apply to all advertising on TV, print and the Internet and came into force as of January 2009. As a public commitment to the European Commission's Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health; the initiative is subject to independent monitoring.

Accenture Media Services in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain conducted monitoring, although the commitment applies all 27 EU member states.

Results


The overall results show:
  • 93% decline in advertising for products that do not meet companies' nutritional criteria in programmes with an audience composed of a majority of children
  • 56% decline in advertising for these products overall, ie in all programmes on all channels at all times
For all EU Pledge member companies' advertising across all products (ie no distinction on a nutritional basis) this represents:
  • 61% decline in programmes with an audience composed of a majority of children
  • 30% decline overall, ie in all programmes on all channels at all times
In addition, signatory companies committed not to engage in any commercial communications related to food and beverage products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by or agreed with the school administration for educational purposes. Independent monitoring by Price Waterhouse Coopers showed that food advertisers were 93% compliant with their commitment.

The EU Pledge was facilitated and endorsed by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and is a joint industry commitment to the EU Platform on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, chaired by Robert Madelin, EU director general for health and consumer protection.

“Industry has long held that voluntary action can be more effective in a shorter timeframe than government regulation,” says Stephan Loerke, WFA MD. “These independent data show how self-regulation can help deliver on public policy objectives and why it cannot be discounted from the policy mix.”

The WFA (www.wfanet.org) is the voice of advertisers worldwide representing 90% of global marketing communications expenditures, roughly US$700 billion per annum, through a unique, global network: 57 national advertiser associations on five continents as well as over 50 of the world's top 100 advertisers. Through the network, WFA represents more than 10 000 businesses operating in a broad spectrum of sectors at national, regional and global levels.

The full EU Pledge Monitoring Report may be downloaded at www.eu-pledge.eu. For more, also go to www.valueofadvertising.org.
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