Ofcom publishes final Statement on the television advertising of food and drink products to children

22 February 2007

22 February 2007

Ofcom today completed its review of the rules relating to the television advertising of food and drink products to children, and published its final Statement on the introduction of restrictions in this area.

Ofcom's co-regulatory partners, the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Advertising Standards Authority, are now responsible for implementing the new scheduling and content rules and securing compliance respectively. The new rules will form part of the BCAP Television Advertising Standards Code.

Ofcom's final Statement follows the conclusion of its additional consultation (published 17 November 2006). This proposed to extend restrictions on the television advertising of food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) to include programmes and channels aimed at children aged under 16.

Ofcom has considered all responses to this consultation carefully. After a detailed analysis of the evidence, including a full impact assessment, Ofcom has concluded it is appropriate and necessary to adopt restrictions intended to reduce significantly the exposure of children under 16 to HFSS advertising.

Scheduling restrictions

In light of concerns raised in the course of the consultation, the scheduling restrictions will now come into effect on a phased basis for all channels, as follows:

  • From 1 April 2007, HFSS advertisements will not be permitted in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged 4-9; and
  • From 1 January 2008, HFSS advertisements will not be permitted in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged 4-15.

As set out in the November Statement, children's channels will be allowed a graduated phase-in period, with full implementation required by the end of December 2008.

Content rules

  • New content rules come into effect immediately for new advertising campaigns.
  • Existing advertising campaigns or those in the final stages of creative execution can be broadcast until the end of June 2007. However, from 1 July 2007 all advertising campaigns must comply with the new content rules.

See Related Items for the Final Statement on Television Advertising of Food and Drink Products to Children.

Ends.

NOTES FOR EDITORS AND CSEs

1. Key measures previously announced in Ofcom's Statement of 17 November 2006 included:

  • Scheduling restrictions will be confined to food and drink products that are assessed as high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) as defined by the Food Standards Agency's nutrient profiling model;
  • A total ban on HFSS food and drink advertisements in and around all programmes of particular appeal to children under 16 from 1 January 2008 (and from programmes of particular appeal to children under 10 from 1 April 2007);
  • This would include a total ban in and around all children's programming and on dedicated children's channels as well as in youth-oriented and adult programmes which attract a significantly higher than average proportion of viewers under the age of 16;
  • In addition to the scheduling restrictions outlined above, content rules will also apply to all food and drink advertising to children irrespective of when it is scheduled. These rules include banning the use of celebrities and characters licensed from third parties, promotional offers and health claims in HFSS product advertisements aimed at primary school children or younger;
  • All restrictions on product advertising will apply equally to product sponsorship;
  • Ofcom will review the effectiveness and scope of new restrictions in autumn 2008, one year after the full implementation of the new content rules.

2. Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.