Consumption will totally veto advertisements for children under 16 on confectionery and energy bars, cakes, cookies and sweets, juices, energy drinks and ice creams, among others.
The Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, announced this Thursday in Barcelona that the Government will ban the advertising of unhealthy foods during children’s hours, specifically for children under 16 years of age, in 2022, “as soon as possible”, by means of a royal decree which will serve to regulate this aspect and for which the procedures have been initiated. Garzón had already announced this measure, as he did in an interview with El Periódico, which is born from the conviction that the precautions taken so far in this field have not worked.
Regulation it will not only affect television, but also written media, radio, internet, cinema, social networks and applications that are aimed at minors under 16 years of age. The minister recalled the data from the Aladdin Report that indicates “alarming levels & rdquor; among children 6 to 9 years of age who are overweight, suffers it a 23.3%, and of obesity, which affects 17%.
Initially, Garzón planned to apply front labeling Nutriscore to decide which advertising to prohibit and which not based on the mark obtained in the controversial food traffic light, of which many nutritionists are suspicious. But finally, Consumption has opted for a system more restrictive and based on nutritional profiles marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has been applauded, after the announcement, by the main consumer associations.
The five categories
Based on the WHO criteria, advertising will be completely prohibited, in strips and spaces aimed at children under 16 years of age, of five categories of products: the first is that referred to the confectionery of chocolate and sugar, energy bars and sweet toppings and desserts; the second, the one that includes cakes, biscuits sweets and other pastry products; the third, that of the juices; the fourth, that of energy drinks, and the fifth, that of ice creams.
For the rest of the products, a limit of nutrient content will be set for every 100 grams and it will be possible to advertise if the total and saturated fats, the total and added sugar and the salt levels are kept below the limits established for each product.
9 out of 10 ads
“There is still a long way to go and we must be more ambitious & rdquor ;, declared Garzón, who has appeared at the Barcelona City Council together with the mayor, Ada Colau. He has also pointed out that the PAOS code of self-regulation of the audiovisual sector in advertising on this issue, born in 2005, “does not work effectively, has had many failures and is an insufficient instrument & rdquor ;. In fact, a recent study of the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) reveals that nine out of 10 ads of foods aimed at children are from unhealthy products. An “alarming” data for the association given that “they are especially susceptible when it comes to being influenced by commercial practices.”
Faced with this, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has chosen to undertake “direct regulatory activity & rdquor ;, as Garzón explained, following the recommendations and profiles of the WHO, as the United Kingdom, Norway and Portugal. The minister recalled that as it is a royal decree, the rule should not go through Congress, which will avoid some potential delays.
Actions in Barcelona
During the appearance, Colau has announced that the Barcelona City Council will approve two municipal instructions that will regulate the presence in the public space of advertising food and beverages harmful to health and that will reinforce the presence of healthy products in the food services of municipal facilities.
The two instructions will be approved in the coming weeks, according to the consistory. The first will limit the presence of advertising for food and beverages with low nutritional value on the advertising media managed by the city council: marquees, banners and canvases. The second will involve the application of sustainability criteria in the purchase of products that are sold in municipal facilities and services, such as vending machines and catérings.