Scheduling restrictions on television advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children have come into force in the UK.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the restrictions, which came into affect on April 1, are intended to reduce significantly the exposure of children to television advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar. They are being introduced as a step towards improving children’s diets and tackling rising levels of obesity.
Currently, 80% of food advertising spent within children’s airtime is on food high in fat, salt and sugar, such as confectionery, soft drinks, crisps, savory snacks, fast food and pre-sugared breakfast cereals.
Under the new rules, any advertiser wishing to advertise food on television during children’s airtime will be required to assess the nutritional composition of their product against the Agency’s Nutrient Profiling model.
The Nutrient Profiling model uses a scoring system that recognizes the contribution made by beneficial nutrients (protein – as a marker for calcium and iron levels – fiber, fruit and vegetables, and nuts) and penalizes food with components that children should eat less of (energy, saturated fats, salt and sugars). The model recognizes the importance of cereal, meat and dairy-based foods and fruit, vegetables and nuts to the diet.