Brit Ad Body Hits Back at Critics of Touting Food to Kids

26 August 2003

The Food Advertising Unit of Britain's Advertising Association – a body representing all sectors of the UK industry – today (Tuesday) publishes its Family Food Survey, a refutation of criticism that the advertising industry promotes unhealthy foods and beverages to children.

The partyline is epitomized by the headline of its press release ‘Mum Knows Best’. Among the study’s main findings …

• 98% of parents rate nutritional value as important or very important when buying food for their children;

• Only 14% had agreed to let a child try a product that they asked for after seeing it advertised;

• 87% of parents don't believe that food advertising should be banned;

• 96% believe that it is up to parents to explain to children that they can't have everything they see advertised;

• 41% think there is not enough information available about providing their children with a healthy diet.

Says Food Advertising Unit director Jeremy Preston: “We know that children are eating less calories than they were ten years ago and this latest research underlines the fact that parents are doing well in terms of providing a balanced diet for their children.”

The apparently self-selecting sample of 1,521 parents (each averaging 2.3 kids under age 18) was culled from, an independent website which offers parenting advice and information.

The site is short on information as to its funding, although there appears to be an indirect association with Time-Life. Nor is there any information on how statistically representative it is of UK parents.

A full copy of the report is available from the Food Advertising Unit.

Data sourced from: Advertising Association (UK); additional content by WARC staff