Nestlé joins other US multinationals in ad pledge

Posted by James Ferre on 5th December 2008

The Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) has announced its approval of Nestlé USA’s advertising pledge as a participant in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative – which was created to encourage companies to restrict advertising to children.

The Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative was created in 2006 by BBB, with 10 major food and beverage companies, which accounted for more than two-thirds of children’s food and beverage television advertising expenditures in 2004, signing up. There are now 15 companies involved, with some promising to cancel all advertising to children under 12 while others have committed to only advertising healthier products to children under 12.

Nestlé’s US division has pledged that, effective January 1, 2009, 100 per cent of its advertising directed primarily to children under 12 will be for products that meet nutritional guidelines. Nestlé will no longer advertise Wonka brand candies to children under 12, becoming the fourth confectionery company in the Initiative to stop advertising candy to this age group. In addition, Nestlé USA will not target any advertising to children under 6 regardless of the product’s nutritional profile.

Nestlé had joined the initiative earlier this year but had been waiting until they had created their global commitment to responsible advertising to children before outlining their plans.

“Nestlé has agreed to only advertise foods to children that meet nutritional guidelines, which means that one of their best selling brands, WONKA candies, will no longer be advertised to kids under 12 years old,” said Elaine D. Kolish, Director of the Initiative. “Nestlé USA has shown a serious commitment to promoting healthier foods for kids not only in the types of products they produce-including milk and juice-but also in their willingness to curb advertising candy to children under 12.”

Nestlé USA’s healthier dietary choices guidelines are primarily based on the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and include the following requirements for foods advertised to children 6 to 12 years of age:
• A juice product must be 100 per cent fruit and/or vegetable juice and the serving size will be limited to no more than 8 fluid ounces and no more than 170 calories;
• A ready to drink flavoured milk that is portion controlled at 100 calories and contains no added sugars;
• Chocolate powder flavouring for milk must be either 25 per cent reduced in sugar or contain no added sugars; and
• A frozen dairy dessert must be limited to no more than 100 calories and be an excellent source of a nutrient.

In July 2008, BBB released the first report on the progress made by Initiative participants after their pledges were announced at the Federal Trade Commission’s July 2007 forum.

The 15 participants of the Initiative are: Burger King, Cadbury Adams, Campbell Soup, The Coca-Cola Company, ConAgra Foods, The Dannon Company, General Mills, The Hershey Company, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Mars, McDonald’s USA, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo, and Unilever. Details of the pledges of all the companies can be found here.