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UK bans junk food ads in all kids media

Kids-logo-460_2Kids_watching_TV_Fotolia_102851921_Subscription_Monthly_MA ban on junk food advertising in the UK will apply across all media, extending the rules that already apply to kids TV.

The widening of the ban beyond TV means advertising of all high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) products is prohibited online and on social media, in print and in cinemas.

The HFSS ban in kids TV has divided opinion, with many parents and consumer groups welcoming the move. Producers and channel operators in the UK have, however, noted that it removed the financial structures that underpinned the financing of kids content.

Commercial channels ITV and Channel 4 both reduced their commitment to kids TV in the wake of the original TV ban, leaving pubcaster the BBC as the only large-scale commissioner of kids programming in the UK.

The new media-wide rules, announced this morning by the UK Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), come into force in July 2017. Specifically, commercials for HFSS products aimed at under 16s will be prohibited.

Some lobby groups have called for the measures to go further and extend to all content that has a large under 16 audience. The CAP notes the new rules do apply to all content where 25% of the audience is children.

A UK Department of Health model is used to decide which products qualify as HFSS.

“Childhood obesity is a serious and complex issue and one that we’re determined to play our part in tackling,” said James Best, CAP chairman.

These restrictions will significantly reduce the number of ads for high, fat, salt or sugar products seen by children. Our tough new rules are a clear demonstration that the ad industry is willing and ready to act on its responsibilities and puts the protection of children at the heart of its work.”