The government has announced that there will be a ban on all television and online junk food advertising before 9 PM. There are also considerations as to whether to ban the online adverts completely. These groundbreaking decisions come after Boris Johnson pledged to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis, but what will the new rules mean for the marketing industry?
Other measures include large restaurants, pubs, and takeaway shops to start adding calorie labels to the food and drink on their menus, as well as banning supermarkets from displaying sweets, crisps and chocolate at the checkouts. The government has also said that they will be cracking down on promotional activities, such as limiting the popular ‘buy one, get one free’ deals.
Boris Johnson has stated that these measures are a necessary change in order to protect the NHS and individuals from coronavirus, as recent studies have shown that obesity increases the severity of the virus symptoms. With a 2018 NHS study showing that 64% of adults and 30% of children were overweight, and with obesity on the rise, this has been addressed as a major concern for the country as it prepares for a possible spike in COVID-19 cases during the winter months.
Many healthy eating campaigners have welcomed and encouraged these changes, however, advertising companies are urging the government to reconsider these arguably harsh measures, arguing that they will have a devastating impact on the marketing industry and the current economic recovery of the country. Cancer Research UK found that almost half of food adverts shown on major television channels were for unhealthy food products, with this increasing to around 60% between 6 PM and 9 PM. These now banned advertisements, along with the other proposed restrictions, are set to jeopardise thousands of jobs in not only the marketing industry, but also the food sector if it were to cause the suspected significant decrease in sales. There is currently confusion over what types of foods are included in these measures, as the specifications are ‘foods that have excess fat, sugar or salt’. Clarification over the rules will determine just how many companies will be hit by the changes, but with the current job crisis, is now the right time to be making such drastic changes? Let us know what you think in the comments below.