France’s leading consumer association UFC-Que Choisir has claimed the impact of TV ads on child obesity is as bad as ever despite commitments made by food manufacturers since 2006.

Based on the findings of its latest survey, the association estimates that 80% of ads aimed at children under-10 are for foods that are high in sugar or fat, with confectionery and fast food accounting for over half of broadcasts. This compares with 89% four years ago when a similar survey was conducted.

Since then, manufacturers that were members of the ANIA food-industry trade body signed a Government-driven charter on nutritional progress that encompassed “good practice in communication”. One of the key recommendations of the charter was that food makers drop ads during children’s TV.

However, UFC-Que Choisir claims that TV ad budgets of food groups have increased by 20% over the past four years and that the broadcasting of these ads has been adjusted to periods where there are the greatest number of children watching television.  

The ANIA has claimed that the UFC-Que Choisir survey is “dishonest” and is based on ads broadcast during all TV viewing periods. The commitments made by ANIA members only concerned ads during periods of peak viewing, it said.

“I think you will find that many of our members no longer advertise their products during children’s TV and outside these periods have withdrawn ads showing scenes of families in consumption mode,” an ANIA spokesperson told just–food today.