Food manufacturers are reportedly targeting children through social networking sites and internet chat programmes following the introduction of an Ofcom ban on advertising high fat, salt and sugar foods to children on television.

Brands such as McDonald's, Starburst, Haribo and Skittles have all started using the internet to target children, according to an investigation by the Guardian.

MPs have criticised the practice: “It was entirely predictable this would happen,” Conservative MP Philip Davies told the paper. “This was the folly of introducing a ban on so-called junk food advertising. It was a piece of gesture politics.”