Campaign against food marketing self-regulation by anti-Obesity group
Obesity Policy Coalition which is partly funded by Victorian State government, has released a new report that claims advertisers “exploit loopholes in self-regulatory codes” for food marketing.
In releasing its “End the Charade” report, the group says that “sneaky tactics” are being used to expose children with “junk food advertising”.
The report says “the system has become even worse since an initial investigation by the OPC in 2012”. OPC is a partnership between Diabetes Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University, with funding from VicHealth, which is the name of the Department of Health in Victoria.
The Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) gave the following examples of systemic failure:
- Food advertisers determine their own definition of healthy food and as a result are letting junk food be advertised to children. The coalition said it found examples of a cereal which is 38 per cent sugar being advertised towards children as it meet self-imposed guidelines.The coalition says for example Kellogg’s follows the self-imposed rule that products advertised to children under 12 must contain no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serve, no more than 12 grams of added sugar per serve and no more than 230g of sodium per serve. According to the coalition this allows Kellogg’s Coco Pops, which is 36.5 per cent sugar, to be considered a ‘healthier dietary opinion’ appropriate for marketing to children.
- Advertisements with “fairy tale type imagery” are being created which food advertisers are saying are not targeted at children but instead are “designed to appeal to an adult’s sense of nostalgia for childhood”.
- A “complex, slow system” is in place that “lacks transparency and accountability”
The OPC is now calling on the Australian Communications and Media Authority to monitor and measure children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising on television as a first step.
It is also calling on the Australian federal government to introduce additional new comprehensive regulations.