The commitment, facilitated by industry body the World Federation of Advertisers and covering European Union countries only, brings company’s online marketing communication in line with a 2007 commitment to only advertise “better for you” products on TV, in print or online.
It goes further than the UK self regulatory system run by the Advertising Standards Authority that carries content restrictions on the promotion of food and drink on non-broadcast channels – for example, ads that “encourage poor nutritional habits” – but not placement bans.
Broadcast channels such as television are the only place were placement restrictions occur.
The UK’s Advertising Association welcomed the move. A spokesman adds: “Brands have been moving in this direction for some time. The industry has always maintained that responsibility and restraint is the right approach and this is another example of brands approaching food advertising in a very, very different way from just a few years ago.”
Stephan Loerke, WFA managing director says the “world first” pledge aims to “help foster an environment, which supports – rather than undermines – healthy lifestyles”.
The WFA claims that its members – which also include Kraft, Unilever and Procter & Gamble – account for 80% of all food marketing spend in the European Union.