MUMBAI: Hindustan Unilever, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kellogg have all signed up to a voluntary agreement that will restrict the marketing of unhealthy products to children under the age of 12 years old in the country.

While increasing numbers of companies are expected to expand their operations in India in the next few years, another growing trend over this period is likely to be the greater regulation of the promotion of products linked to rising levels of obesity to young people in both advanced and developing markets.

In line with both of these expectations, the Indian units of the four multinational food and beverage giants have pledged to stop promoting certain brands to Indian children.

The ban applies to television, print and online communications, and also to the sale of these products in primary schools.

More detailed proposals regarding how these firms will self-regulate this agreement will be produced later this year.

Each of the advertisers involved also signed the EU Pledge in December 2007, in which they set out a "common commitment to change the way they advertise to children" in Europe.

Alongside a range of company-specific measures, this included only marketing brands meeting "specific nutrition criteria" to children, and limiting communications activity in primary schools.

Other signatories to the EU Pledge were Burger King, Danone, Kraft, Nestlé, General Mills, Ferrero and Mars, and the corporations among this group with large Indian operations are expected to sign up to the new code of conduct in the country by the time it is formally released.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by WARC staff