European Snacks Association Pledges to Reduce TV Ads to Children

The European Snacks Association (ESA) has joined an EU initiative designed to restrict advertising to children.

By David Burrows

Those supporting the EU Pledge are committed to changing food and beverage advertising on TV, print and the internet to children under the age of 12 in the European Union, by:

– Not advertising food and beverage products to children under the age of 12 on TV, print and internet, except for products which fulfill specific nutrition criteria based on accepted scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines.

– Not engaging in any commercial communications related to food and beverage products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by or agreed with the school administration for educational purposes.

By joining the voluntary agreement, the ESA commits to promoting compliance with the EU Pledge among its membership.

The Pledge was set up in December 2007 when 11 major food and beverage companies announced a common commitment to change the way they advertise to children. The move followed calls by the EU for the food industry to use commercial communications to support parents in making the right diet and lifestyle choices for their children.

The original eleven: Burger King; Coca-Cola; Danone; Ferrero; General Mills; Kellogg; Kraft Foods; Mars; Nestlé; PepsiCo and Unilever. The companies, which represent more than 50% of the food and beverage advertising spend in the EU, all agreed to stop running junk food ads on TV, in print and on the internet to under-12s by the end of 2008.

Last year, this commitment was assessed, and the companies achieved 99.8% compliance rate on their TV advertising commitment – 914 non-compliant spots were found in print ads or online.

Two ESA member companies, LU Snack Foods (Kraft Food) and PepsiCo, are among the founding members of the EU Pledge. Other ESA members include Intersnack, Lorenz Snack- World, Procter & Gamble, Unichips – San Carlo and Zweifel Pomy-Chip: together these companies represent the bulk of advertising expenditure in the European savoury snacks market.

The ESA Pledge signatories will publish their specific corporate commitments within the EU Pledge initiative before the end of 2010 on the EU Pledge website and the ESA website.

As of 1 January 2011, these ESA member companies will also submit themselves to the common monitoring programme implemented annually by the EU Pledge initiative to measure compliance with the EU Pledge commitments.