UK Ad Body Urges Regulation, Not Ban, For Junk Food Ads

01 June 2004

In the wake of a damning report proposing a voluntary ban on unhealthy food ads during children's TV programmes, the Advertising Association's Food Advertising Unit responded by refuting the efficacy of a ban -- voluntary or otherwise.

The report, by the cross-party UK House of Commons health committee, was deemed to have missed the point according to the FAU, which claims that "advertising bans will not be effective in improving health".

With obesity a key issue, the health committee's report demands that promotion to children of foods high in fat, sugar and salt be curbed within three years. It also condemns "cynical" promotion via the use of sports and showbiz celebrities to endorse such products.

The latter criticism follows recent industry claims that celebrities like former soccer star Gary Lineker are crucial to junk food sales such as PepsiCo's Walkers crisps brand, where sales have increased by 105% over seven years.

Instead of a ban, the FAU favours ad regulation -- and government encouragement for the promotion of healthy foods.

Data sourced from: and; additional content by WARC staff