EU Pledge announces enhancements


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The EU Pledge, a voluntary initiative by major food and beverage companies to change the way they advertise to children under the age of 12 in the EU, has announced three key developments. The EU Pledge brings together 21 companies representing roughly 85% of food marketing spend on the continent with the common objective of limiting the impact on children of the marketing of foods high in salt, sugar and fat.

The changes were announced at the latest meeting of the EU Platform for action on diet, physical activity and health, a Commission-led initiative gathering representatives from both the food industry and NGOs, on 9th March.

The key changes are:
  • Implementation guidance: The implementation guidance is designed to help companies comply with the enhanced EU Pledge commitments in force since the beginning of the year. The enhanced commitment extends the scope to interactive games, social networking sites, apps, cinema and outdoor advertising. It also ensures that the overall impression of the marketing communication is not designed to appeal primarily to children, for instance by using marketing techniques such as licensed characters and celebrities. The guidance is designed to reduce the grey areas in terms of interpretation and provide for a more coherent implementation of the commitments between all signatory companies;
  • More stringent common nutrition criteria across some categories: The EU Pledge members have agreed to reduce the amount of sugar and sodium permitted in a range of food products to comply with the common nutrition criteria. The new limit values will be effective as of end 2018.
  • Increased transparency and accountability: Members are working on the development of an accountability mechanism, through which members of the public and competitors would be able to submit complaints whenever a breach of the EU Pledge is spotted. Corrective action and sanctions for failure to comply would be ensured.

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