Have your say on plans for junk food advertising ban

By Juliane Caillouette-Noble, Development Director, Sustainable Restaurant Association

Earlier this month the government launched a new consultation on proposals to ban online advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt in the UK in order to tackle the obesity crisis. The consultation will last for six weeks, with plans to wrap up just before Christmas.

The new proposed legislation goes much further than the proposals that were floated in the summer, a move that was welcomed by many health campaigners; however it would affect all foods deemed too high in fat, salt and sugar, including ingredients like avocados or cured meats like bacon.

The consultation is a bold move and would ban digital marketing from ads on Facebook to paid-search results on Google, text message promotions and social media activity on Twitter and Instagram.

While we welcome a move to protect children from the bombardment of targeted advertising pushing them toward unhealthy food, using the existing HSFS framework and implementing the proposal as is could have some unintended consequences — for example restricting local bakeries from advertising their services, or not allowing cafes to promote an Instagram post of a best seller like avocado toast.

We are in full support of the government taking action to help improve the food environment that our young people grow up in, and we appreciate that these things are extremely complicated in the detail, that is why we think it’s of the utmost importance that you have your say and make your voices heard. To respond to the consultation please click here.

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