Food giants KFC and Kellogg’s have been told to remove adverts which promoted junk food to children, by the UK’s advertising watchdog.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says they broke strict rules on advertising high fat, sugar or salt products to children.The ASA found Kellogg’s promoted a Coco Pops product, during a Mr Bean cartoon, likely to have been seen by children.It also ruled KFC advertised a Mars product on a phone box by a school.
Rules governing food advertising forbid promoting certain foods to children.KFC said the appearance of the ad close to a school was a simple human error and it had taken the advert down promptly, once it had been alerted.And Kellogg’s said it was disappointed with the decision as it had only meant to promote the healthier Coco Pops Granola product, rather than the original version
Children are seeing up to 12 adverts an hour for high-fat, high-sugar foods during primetime family TV programmes such as The Voice, research has found.
Children were “bombarded” by adverts for pizza, burgers and biscuits, a team at Liverpool University found.Experts are demanding a 21:00 watershed on “junk-food” adverts, saying current guidelines are “failing children”.
A government spokesmen said advertising restrictions in the UK were “among the toughest in the world”.
Current rules, introduced in 2007, restrict the advertising of high-fat, high-sugar foods during children’s TV programmes or any programme where 75% of the audience will be children.
But health bodies point to the thousands of children watching programmes not specifically targeted at children.
A study found most food and drinks adverts during these programmes were for products high in fat, sugar and salt.
One an episode of ITV’s The Voice, watched on average by 708,500 children during the study period, featured 12 adverts for food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar.This included adverts for takeaway pizza at the start and end of every commercial break due to a sponsorship deal with a pizza manufacturer.
An episode of Hollyoaks, broadcast in the same week on E4 and watched on average by 140,225 children across the study period, featured nine such adverts in 30 minutes.
Like The Voice, Hollyoaks is also currently sponsored by a takeaway brand.”This report is another grim reminder why we’re losing the fight against the scourge of childhood obesity,” said Prof Mary Fewtrell, nutrition lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.”Children are very impressionable and need protection from the hundreds of millions of pounds spent each year on junk food advertising, much of which is within the family viewing hours of 18:00 to 21:00.”