3,000 food brands hit out at Government advertising ban

3,000 food brands hit out at Government advertising ban

With the support of some of the UK’s biggest food brands, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has written to the Prime Minister to highlight concerns regarding the proposed advertising ban consultation for so called junk food.

FDF chief executive, Ian Wright CBE.

The new plans aim to promote healthier food choices for children and families by banning online adverts and TV adverts of ‘junk food’ that appear before 9pm.

The letter confirms that food companies support the Government’s plan to tackle obesity but that these plans lack evidence and are disproportionate.

More than 800 food and drink organisations and over 3,000 brands have backed the letter which claims that food companies have not been given enough time to submit detailed objections to the plans. It has been signed by the likes of PepsiCo UK and Ireland, Haribo UK, Kellogg’s, Britvic and many more.

The letter reads: “The food and drink sector wholeheartedly supports the Government’s public health policy objectives. We know we have a key part to play. Food and drink manufacturers will continue to reformulate their products and put healthier or smaller portioned products on the market.

“The UK Government is quite correctly committed to evidence-based policy making. However, the evidence base underpinning these proposals is lacking in both detail and efficacy.”

“We are however greatly concerned by the timing of the recently launched public consultation proposing the option of a complete online advertising ban of a broad range of food and drink products; a disproportionate proposal with an impossibly short time period given for responses given the level of technical detail sought.

“The sheer volume of critical work facing food companies in the next few weeks means that at this time we simply cannot give this consultation the resource it deserves and demands.

“Something will have to give. The timing of this consultation is frankly astonishing, especially as the Government’s stated ambition is to introduce these proposed advertising restrictions at the end of 2022. There is no reason to introduce this consultation and demand submission responses with such haste while effectively limiting our opportunity to respond, especially before the end of December.

“The UK Government is quite correctly committed to evidence-based policy making. However, the evidence base underpinning these proposals is lacking in both detail and efficacy. Additionally, there is still no agreed definition of which foods the Government is including in these proposals. They are so broad they even capture family favourites from chocolate to peanut butter to sausage rolls.”

The proposals are still under consultation and would introduce bans on firms promoting foods high in salt, fat and sugar in Facebook ads, paid search results on Google, text promotions and posts on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

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