Masterfoods, the maker of Mars and Snickers chocolate bars, will stop marketing confectionery to children younger than 12 by the end of the year. The self-imposed ban will apply to all advertising, including online and new media.
Masterfoods already has a policy of not advertising to children under six. It is the first time a major food company has set such a high global age threshold for confectionery products.
Cadbury Schweppes does not target children under eight globally, and Kraft does not advertise to children under six.
In a letter to Robert Madelin, the European Commission director-general for health and consumer protection, the company says: “We have decided to make an official policy change to a cut-off age of 12 years for all our core products.”
On some of its websites, such as Starburst.com, children can play games and download screensavers. It is unclear what will happen to such Masterfoods sites.
The Union of European Beverages Associations last year agreed to stop advertising to children under 12 in Europe. Coca-Cola does not market its carbonated drinks to children under 12 globally.