Major Australian food and beverage manufacturers make commitment to limit advertising

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 5th January 2009

Major Australian based food and beverage manufacturers have, for the first time, publicly made available company action plans which spell out in black and white how and when they will market a range of their products.

Australian Food and Grocery Council CEO Kate Carnell said that the commitment is in-line with the Council’s recently announced Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative.

Contract signing

“Companies participating in this initiative have publicly committed to advertise to children under 12, only when it will further the goal of promoting healthy dietary choices and healthy lifestyles,” Ms Carnell advised. “Participants have also undertaken to not advertise food and beverage products to children under 12 in any media unless those products represent healthy dietary choices, consistent with established scientific or Australian government standards.”

“Signatories to the scheme will now only advertise products in the context of promoting good dietary habits and physical activity,” she added.

Ms Carnell said that to date eight major multinational food and beverage companies have signed up to the scheme including: Nestlé Australia Limited, Cereal Partners Worldwide, Kraft Food Australia/New Zealand, Cadbury Plc, George Weston Limited, Unilever Australia Limited, Coca Cola South Pacific, and PepsiCo Australia.

“The signatories to date represent some of the largest, most iconic brands in the business; we are not just talking about one or two companies, but a whole host of major players, with more expected to come aboard in the near future,” Ms Carnell reported. “The aim in developing the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative is to provide a framework for food and beverage companies to promote healthy dietary choices and lifestyles to Australian children.”

“There is genuine community concern about specific marketing directed at children and our hope in initiating this scheme is to legitimately be able to point to our actions and say; yes industry is hearing the community’s concerns and this is what we are doing about it,” she said.

Ms Carnell noted that the scheme, which came into effect on 1 January 2009, represents a giant leap forward in relation to a co-regulatory approach.

“There is a real sense amongst people I talk to both in the industry and in government that this scheme has the framework, support, and ambition behind it to bring about real change in the way that marketers operate. The food industry, and the scheme’s signatories more specifically, look forward to being judged on our actions, not just our rhetoric,” Ms Carnell concluded.