Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Nestlé and more commit to greater restrictions on advertising to children

The CEOs of some of the world’s leading food and non-alcoholic beverage companies, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Nestlé, have agreed on a new policy for responsible advertising to children.

The commitments, created in conjunction with members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA), form part of a broader package of measures sent in a letter to World Health Organization director general Dr Margaret Chan, which will guide companies’ health and wellness strategies going forward.

The package includes a commitment to product reformulation and innovation as well as a common global approach to including nutritional information on pack, at point of sale and through other channels by the end of 2016.

Two of the key changes outlined include expanding the current global policy to cover all media, including radio cinema, direct marketing, mobile and SMS marketing, interactive games, DVD/CD-ROM and product placement.

In addition to ensure that certain marketing techniques, such as licensed characters, movie tie-ins and celebrities that appeal to children under 12 are only for products meeting the “better-for-you” criteria.

The new standards for marketing to children, which come into force by the end of 2016, will constitute the minimum global criteria for all IFBA companies.

“The major food and beverage companies have strict controls in place on how they communicate with younger audiences. This latest strengthening of the IFBA global policy demonstrates the extent to which IFBA members are taking their responsibilities seriously when it comes to marketing to children,” said Stephan Loerke, managing director of the World Federation of Advertisers.

The new criteria will be used to update local “pledge programme” initiatives, which are based on the IFBA global policy but which also bring in local companies in order to extend market coverage.

Other companies that have agreed to the commitments include Ferrero, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Kellogg's, Mars, Mondelez International, PepsiCo and Unilever.

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