Global food companies announce reinforced voluntary marketing commitments

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26/01/2012
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Members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA), a coalition of major food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, have announced enhancements to the IFBA Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children. These enhanced commitments were communicated to Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation, earlier this month.

The IFBA Global Policy sets out minimum requirements for all IFBA marketers in all markets in which they operate. The new, “enhanced” commitments start coming into effect now, while companies must ensure the policy is applied consistently at a global level by no later than the end of 2012.

IFBA members include The Coca-Cola Company, Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Mars, Nestl, PepsiCo., Unilever and McDonald's (as an observer member).

IFBA members had previously committed to:
1.) only advertise certain products that meet specific nutrition criteria based on accepted scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines to children under 12 years; or
2.) not to advertise their products at all to children under the age of 12 years.
The commitments covered TV, print and third-party internet advertising (i.e. pop-ups, banners, etc.) when a majority of the viewing audience (i.e. >50% audience) was under 12.

Under the new policy, IFBA members agree:

1. To extend their commitment to audiences of >35% of children <12 years. This will mean more TV programming is covered by the core commitment.
2. To ensure their brand websites are also covered, meaning companies cannot directly target <12s on their websites unless the food meets the company-specific “better for you” criteria.

The announcement follows the same recent enhancements made by the same food manufacturers in the EU and the US and demonstrates the companies' commitment to ensuring their policies apply globally. The enhancements in the EU and US have drawn praise from regulators, demonstrating the extent to which food marketing self-regulation was clearly having an impact.

Contact Will Gilroy for more information: w.gilroy@wfanet.org


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