The conscience-driven Co-operative Group refused to advertise food it considered to be unhealthy for children a few years ago, and now others appear to be following its lead. The Food Standards Agency has plans to work with the industry to develop guidelines on best practice in labelling and promotion of foods aimed at children, after calls from the Department of Health for a code of conduct.
The FSA says there should be concern about the potentially harmful effects of advertising products high in sugar, salt and fat to children. It is also relevant in tackling adult obesity. The review will study the effect of promotional activities that encourage parents to buy particular foods/drinks for their children; encourage children to spend their own money on particular foods; and that persuade children to ask parents to purchase particular products. The remit includes label claims, in-store promotions, and TV and cinema advertising. Wendy Wrigley, the Co-op's general manager, retail brands, says: "Excessive advertising can have a negative effect on consumers by pushing them towards a bad diet ­ we won't advertise fatty, sugary or salty foods during children's TV programmes and we're still pushing for changes in guidelines."