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June 24, 2021

UK set to ban ‘junk food’ advertising online and on TV pre-watershed

The UK government is attempting to tackle the country's growing obesity crisis.

The UK government is expected to announce today that it will ban ‘junk food’ advertising online and before 9pm on TV from 2023.

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In an attempt to tackle the UK’s growing obesity crisis, the government is set to proceed with the previously-suggested restrictions despite the revenue hit the country’s commercial TV channels will take from advertisers of high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) food and drinks.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a strong advocate of clamping down on the advertising of unhealthy food, partly blaming his being overweight for the severity of his illness when he contracted Covid-19 last year.

The Times newspaper said the rules will apply to cakes, chocolate, ice cream, pastries, biscuits, milkshakes, breakfast cereals, pizza, ready meals, crisps, chips, and other breaded and battered meals, as well as soft drinks.

But some foods high in fat or sugar will be spared from the ban. These include olive oil, honey, avocados, and Unilever’s Marmite spread.

It is expected that the online ad ban will affect all paid-for forms of digital marketing.

The UK’s The Guardian newspaper described the measures as “some of the toughest marketing restrictions in the world”.

However, it is suggested that fast food companies which are often associated with poor dietary habits will be able to advertise as long as no HFSS products appear and advertising on radio will not be covered by the ban.

It is also expected that small and medium-sized companies – those with less than 250 employees – will continue to be allowed to advertise ‘junk food’ products and there will be no new restrictions for the out-of-home sector, which includes billboards, poster sites, on buses, and in locations such as railway stations and airports.

Despite those exemptions, UK industry body the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said it is “disappointed” by the move.

Its chief scientific officer, Kate Halliwell, said: “We are disappointed that the government continues to press ahead with headline-chasing policies which will undermine existing government policies, principally the reformulation programmes to reduce calories, sugars and salt and portion sizes.

“The proposals would make it difficult to advertise many products that have been carefully reformulated or created in smaller portions in-line with the government’s own targets; for example, Cadbury would not be able to advertise its 30% reduced-sugar Dairy Milk.

“Not only do the proposals signal a lack of joined-up policy, the implementation periods for both advertising and promotional restrictions do not give businesses enough time to prepare for the changes.”

The organisation said it will continue to work with the government constructively to “ensure the policies are practical”.

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Free Report
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How is technology having an impact on Consumer buying behavior?

As the world rapidly becomes more connected, it is important for brands to understand the impact that improved technology is having on consumer purchasing behaviors. To react effectively, brands must know how to engage with increasingly digitally savvy consumers. GlobalData’s latest Trend Tracker report provides an analysis of Digital Lifestyles – one of GlobalData's top consumer trends for 2022. The report includes an overview of how digital lifestyles are evolving, including the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on accelerating digitalization, and how this trend is emerging across different Consumer sectors. Key features included in the report:
  • A breakdown of the trend’s prominence across sectors
  • Insights into consumer online penetration, preferred electronic devices and engagement
  • The key drivers and challenges impacting the digital lifestyles trend
  • A spotlight on key innovations set to reshape the consumer landscape
  • Analysis of what’s next for digital innovations and how brands can leverage the trend
Download this report to keep in touch with the more digital consumer.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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