Washington — Steady progress has been made in reforming food advertising directed toward children, but additional work lies ahead, Elaine D. Kolish, vice-president and director, Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Council of Better Business Bureaus, said at the White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children this past week. She also announced that candymaker Ferrero USA has joined the industry group.
Citing an increased number of voluntary product reformulations to meet higher nutrition standards, including reductions in sodium, sugars, fats and calories, as well as a decrease in child-directed food advertising on television, electronic media and interactive games, Kolish said: “Self-regulation is making a meaningful difference in the foods advertised to children.”
She noted “significant strides in cross-sector collaboration” and decreases in childhood obesity rates and calorie intake in children younger than age 12 as benchmarks of the initiative’s success since its institution in 2011.
Welcoming Ferrero USA to the council, Kolish said: “Joining with the other 17 CFBAI members demonstrates Ferrero’s commitment to the health of the nation’s children.” The group, whose members include The Hershey Co., Mars Chocolate North America, Nestlé USA, Inc. and Mondelez International, Inc. have pledged to advertise only healthier products in media directed to children under 12 and not to direct advertising to that age group.
Food advertising by CFBAI members voluntarily complies with company-specific nutrition standards, but on December 31, new CFBAI-developed nutrition criteria will go into effect as the new standard in child-directed food advertising.
The new standards fill gaps in current participant standards, eliminate foods that qualify solely on “reduced” claims and calorie-controlled packaging, limit calories for all categories, include maximums for nutrients to limit — such as sodium and trans fats — and minimums for nutrition components to encourage and promote greater understanding and transparency. The criteria will be reviewed when the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are issued by the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
“Our key focus now is successful implementation of the nutritional criteria. Our member companies are continuing their efforts to develop new products and to reformulate products that meet these standards,” Kolish told Candy & Snack TODAY. She also urged candy and snack manufacturers and others in the food industry to consider the advantages of adopting the standards.