The U.K. Government will be introducing a ban on junk food advertising from the end of next year, as Boris Johnson pushes ahead with his plan to tackle obesity in the nation. From then, advertising products deemed to be high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) will be subject to new restrictions.
The much-discussed ban, which was initially announced last year and has been in consultations since, will apply to all TV advertising shown before 9pm and after 5:30am – in essence, a pre-watershed ban – as well as all forms of paid digital marketing, such as that on Google, Facebook and Instagram. Only TV and online will be affected, with the measures not being extended to audio channels such as radio and podcasts, or to out-of-home ads such as billboards or posters.
The ban is being estimated to cost the major broadcasters more than £200m a year in lost revenue, but it still falls short of the total ban on all forms of junk food advertising that was proposed last year.
The consultation process has seen the measures scaled back significantly, and affected companies will still be able to promote brand-only advertising online and on TV. This means that businesses that are widely associated with the “junk food” category will still be able to advertise themselves, provided they do not show the specific HFSS products. They are still able to promote themselves on their own websites and social media profiles.
There are other notable exceptions to the rules; SMEs (those with less than 250 employees), will continue to be allowed to advertise, as will B2B companies such as those involved in the supply chain.
Controversially, products such as Coke Zero and McDonalds Nuggets are exempt from the ban, because they are not nutritionally deemed to be an HFSS product
There are plans in place to review the products on the banned list, and the ban itself, every few years.