Only 13% of parents want advertising to children banned, according to a survey, and almost the same small proportion admit that they are influenced in their buying decisions by kids’ pester power.

The Family Food Survey was commissioned by the Food Advertising Unit - the food advertising industry body. It questioned more than 1,500 parents through a parenting website

It revealed that 63% of parents thought TV advertising prompted their children to ask to buy a product and 84% believed that it manipulated children.

However only 14% of parents agreed to allow their child to sample a product just because it had been advertised.

And 96% said it was parents’ responsibility to explain to their children that they could not have everything they saw advertised. In answer to the question “which best describes your attitude to companies that market and advertise to kids?” only 13% said “it should be banned”.

The Food Advertising Unit’s director Jeremy Preston said: “It is good to see that, despite all the talk of pester power, it is parents who are in control of the family’s diet. Parents know when to say no to their children and don’t want to live in a nanny state. Restrictions on product information and advertising are not the answer.”

The Food and Drink Federation welcomed the report. “This survey confirms the industry’s belief that Britain’s parents are more sophisticated than some give them credit for. Advertising to children is a strongly regulated area and this regulation is clearly working,” said FDF deputy director general Martin Paterson.