The central association for the German advertising industry, Zentralverband der deutschen Werbewirtschaft (ZAW), has announced a new code of conduct for the advertising of food products, which seeks to provide 'even more protection' for children under 14.
'The business inexperience and vulnerability of this group of people must be taken into account,' it said.
The new guidelines, which apply to any commercial communication, including advertising on TV, radio, in newspapers and magazines, online, and through social media, comes into force on 1 June.
As part of the updated code, any marketing or promotion that makes a direct request to parents to purchase an particular product for their children is prohibited, as is advertising that 'gives the impression that the consumption of a certain food is irreplaceable' for a balanced diet, ZAW said.
The previous age limit of 12 years has been extended to 14 years, which means that, for example, it will no longer be permissible to communicate the positive nutritional properties of a certain food, the excessive consumption of which is not recommended as part of a balanced diet, to children aged 14 or under.
This includes messaging such as 'with the addition of valuable vitamins and minerals' or 'high whole grains for physical performance', ZAW said.
'Social And Technological Changes'
The ZAW said that it is 'continuously developing' its code of conduct, and is 'reacting quickly' to social and technological changes that affect commercial communication, such as the rise of social media.
"The advertising industry takes on responsibility," commented ZAW President Andreas F. Schubert. "Because the world is constantly evolving, we are continuously revising the self-regulation both with regard to the area of application - from advertisements to influencers - and the need for protection of individual target groups."
The new code of conduct can be viewed at www.werberat.de/lebensmittel (in German).
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