CAP publishes draft guidance for public comment on ‘less healthy food & drink’ ad ban

Posted on Wednesday 13 December 2023 | IAB UK

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has published a draft of new guidance to support the implementation of online restrictions on ads for ‘less healthy food and drink'

In 2022, the Government introduced legislation to prohibit online ads for certain types of food and drink products that are defined in law as “less healthy food and drink” - a subset of products that fall within the high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) category. The ad ban is due to come into force in October 2025. You can read more about the background of the ban here

Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are co-regulators for advertising falling within the scope of the ban, with the ASA acting as the frontline regulator. CAP, the body that writes the rules that the ASA enforces, is now conducting a public consultation on the new rules, covering three areas:

  • Guidance on how the ASA intends to apply the new rules, including different tests that users must use to determine whether an ad is within scope of the ban. This includes guidance on factors that indicate whether a product shown in an ad is ‘identifiable’ as a HFSS item (the ‘identifiable test’), as well as clarifications on exemptions from the ban, including the brand exemption. 
  • Amendments to existing Codes and guidance so that advertisers have clarity on how the new rules fit with existing HFSS guidelines
  • How the rules will be added to the UK advertising Codes, inviting respondents to review and comment on the text 

The guidance is open for consultation until Wednesday 7 February 2024, 17:00, with the ASA’s response set to be published in mid-2024. The IAB’s Policy team will be discussing the consultation with IAB members through our Policy and Regulatory Affairs Group - please contact [email protected] if you would like to get involved. We can also support members with producing their own consultation responses.

You can read the consultation in full and submit your response here

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