The food industry will stop advertising ice cream, crisps and soft drinks to children from June 2023 following an agreement between federations for the food industry (Fevia), the traders (Comeos) and the advertisers (UBA), De Morgen reports.
The three organisations announced the initiative in October after calls from the Superior Health Council to ban this form of marketing. It has long been clear to medical experts and policy-makers that self-regulation within the sector is failing, raising the need for more forceful government intervention.
The Council's aims are in line with WHO calls for more robust policies to prevent childhood obesity. One in three children in Europe is overweight or obese, according to the WHO.
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Fevia said on Monday that the food sector will do more to strengthen its 'Belgian Pledge' in which companies and supermarkets in 2012 said they would limit advertising aimed at children.
In addition, that goal will now be written into the industry's advertising code, meaning they apply to the whole industry. The industry's compliance body is the Advertising Ethical Practices Jury. 80% of companies support self-regulation.
Further to this, the sector is raising the age limit for the stricter regulations from 12 to 13. Advertising on television will also be restricted so that when the target audience of a programme is at least 30% children (previously 35%) under 13, the food sector will consider it a children's programme and advertising will be limited.