IAB UK responds to HFSS consultation

In its consultation submission, IAB UK challenges the evidence base for proposals further restricting advertising of products high in fat, salt and sugar to children.


Responding to the Government’s consultation on further advertising restrictions for HFSS products, IAB UK draws attention to evidence showing that children’s exposure to HFSS ads online is low due to advertisers’ widespread compliance with current self-regulatory restrictions. Such arguments are simultaneously being made by the Advertising Association, ASA, CAP and BCAP.

The response put forward also states that the link between a further reduction in HFSS ads shown and a reduction in childhood obesity is tenuous at best; addressing the Government’s calculation that a 9pm watershed on both TV and online advertising (which would also significantly restrict advertising to adults) would result in a mere 2.28 calorie reduction per day, per child – equating to less than half a Smartie.

IAB UK states that any change in the current regulation of HFSS advertising should be based on robust evidence that identifies whether a problem exists. Available evidence supports the fact that the current system of regulation via the CAP Code, independently enforced by the ASA, is sufficient and effective.

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