Food Advertising Unit to Study Effect on Kids
The Advertising Association (AA) is understood to be preparing a research project into the food advertising viewed by children, in response to the government's crackdown on 'inappropriate' marketing to the under-16s.
The AA's food division, the Food Advertising Unit, is believed to be conducting a study of the volume and nature of advertising to which children are exposed. It hopes that the research will help the industry combat claims that it is unduly influencing children.
The plan comes as the Department of Health's (DoH) 'Responsibility Deal' initiative, which encourages responsible behaviour by brands, shifts its focus from calorie-reduction toward advertising and promotions. In particular it involves drawing up criteria for good practice in food marketing.
The 'Responsibility Deal' has so far concentrated on encouraging people to eat fruit and vegetables, working with stakeholders such as fast-food brands and retailers to promote transparency in calorie content and more healthy-living messages.
Senior government adviser Dr Susan Jebb, head of nutrition and health research at the Medical Research Council, will be closely involved in the project, as will health minister Paul Burstow.
Current regulations state that food deemed to be high in fat, salt or sugar cannot be advertised during programmes watched mostly by children.
AA chief executive Tim Lefroy was among a group of industry leaders, including former COI chief executive Mark Lund and Advertising Standards Authority chief executive Guy Parker, who briefed David Cameron at Downing Street last month. …