Release of the Accenture 2014 Compliance Monitoring Report on Global Advertising of Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages in Child-directed Media by IFBA Members.

In April, 2015, Accenture Media Management (Accenture) released the 2014 Compliance Monitoring Report on Global Advertising on Television, Print and Internet of food and non-alcoholic beverages in child-directed media by member companies of the International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA).

We are pleased to advise that Accenture, a leading global provider of media auditing services, has reported that, in this sixth year of compliance monitoring, IFBA members continued to demonstrate a high rate of compliance – 88.5% for television advertising, 99.5% for internet advertising and 100% for print advertising in child-directed media.

For the 2014 monitoring exercise, Accenture analyzed more than one million television advertisements on more than 470 channels over a three-month period in seven markets – China (Beijing), Colombia, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Accenture also examined print and internet advertisements in five markets – Brazil, China, India, Singapore and South Africa. To ensure transparency and credibility, all the media research data analyzed by Accenture was gained from sources independent of IFBA companies and their associated media agencies. Accenture also chose the period to be monitored after the advertising space had already been purchased by the companies.

About the IFBA Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children

IFBA’s global policy is in line with the aims of the 2010 WHO Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children and designed to change how and what we advertise to children – restricting the marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt and promoting balanced diets and healthy, active lifestyles.

The global policy sets out the criteria required for advertising and marketing communications that are paid for, or controlled by, IFBA companies in every country where they market their products. Members commit either to only advertise better-for-you products or not to advertise at all to children under 12 years. Companies use specific nutrition criteria, based on accepted scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines, to determine which of their products are suitable for advertising to children. Members also commit not to engage in product marketing communications to children in primary schools, except if requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational purposes.

In September 2014, members adopted a set of enhanced commitments which will come into effect at the end of 2016. The enhanced policy will cover significantly more media; will ensure that companies do not use marketing techniques in ways that are primarily directed to children under 12 for products that do not meet better-for-you nutrition criteria; and in an effort to enhance and expand regional and national marketing pledges, harmonize nutrition criteria as members have done for the EU and U.S.A. marketing pledges.

The voluntary actions by IFBA companies on marketing to children have been welcomed by regulators in Europe and the U.S.A. as effective in improving the nutrition of foods marketed to children.

Impact monitoring data from Canada, the EU and the U.S.A. also demonstrates a major reduction in marketing communications for products high in fat, sugar and salt and a shift towards the promotion of healthy choices:

  • In Canada, a spot check by Advertising Standards Canada of children’s television advertising in 2012 by signatories to the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative showed that the majority of advertising directed to children was for toys, games, DVDs, in-theatre movies and attractions. Food and beverage commercials accounted for only 20% of the total number of commercials aired during the survey period, down from 25% in 2011; and 86% of advertisements were for better-for-you products;
  • In the EU, a review in 2014 by Accenture reported a substantial decline since 2005 in children’s exposure to advertising for products that do not meet pledge members’ nutrition criteria – an 88% reduction in programmes with an audience composed of over 35% of children. These figures confirm the overall trend towards a significant decrease – an average reduction of 83% in the six years since members made these commitments (2009 vs. 2014).
  • In the U.S.A., a review by the Council of Better Business Bureaus in 2014 of advertisements aired during children’s programming, a repeat of analyses conducted in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, showed that of the 1,274 ads analyzed, 23% were for food and beverages. The review also confirmed an upward trend based on past analyses towards the promotion of healthy choices – 90% of the ads (up from 83% in 2013) were for foods containing fruit, vegetables, non/low-fat dairy, whole grains, or at least a “good” source of what the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans call “nutrients of concern” because they are not consumed in sufficient amounts – calcium, fibre, potassium and vitamin D.