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New food and beverage advertising standards for children announced

The Australian Association of National Advertisers today announced a new Food and Beverage Code which aims to reduce the risk of advertising ‘occasional’ food and drink to children, and will apply from 1 November.

The new code defines a child as someone under 15 years of age, aligning their standard with that of the Children’s Television standards, and introducing a tougher audience threshold to further minimise the impact advertising can have on young Australians.

Moving forward, food and non-alcoholic beverage companies will only be able to show advertisements for such products when the proportion of children is 25 per cent or less of their total audience, compared to the current threshold of 35 per cent or less.

This requirement will apply to all media, both traditional and digital, according to the AANA’s director of policy and regulatory affairs Megan McEwin.

“The definition of what foods can be advertised to children will be based on the criterion laid down by the independent, statutory food authority, FSANZ,” said McEwin.

“We will now embark on an educational campaign to communicate the changes to the marketing community and to help them comply with the new provisions, which will apply from 1 November 2021.”

Other changes to the Code include:

  • the creation of a single unified F&B Code incorporating the previous AANA Code and two other initiatives that covered Quick Service restaurants and packaged foods found in supermarkets and grocery stores;
  • the definition of ‘occasional’ foods will now be determined by the application of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion;
  • the new F&B Code will now also apply to sponsorships;
  • a specific reference to a requirement that only healthier options be marketed to children, so that brand owners do not advertise occasional foods near places where children congregate.

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