German ministers have called for a ban on junk food marketing directed at children at the Consumer Protection Ministers’ Conference (VSMK), held in Thuringia.
In a resolution, the ministers called for ‘a comprehensive ban on advertising directed at children and adolescents for foods that do not comply with the nutrient profile model of the WHO Regional Office for Europe’.
The federal government must initiate a corresponding law ‘within the scope of its regulatory competence’, the state department heads said at the conference.
‘Strict Federal Law’
Saskia Reinbeck of Foodwatch commented, “With well-known social-media influencers and colourful commercials, the food industry mainly turns sugar bombs and fatty snacks on children. The appeal of the state ministers to the federal government could not be clearer: only a strict federal law can stop the goings-on of food companies at the expense of children’s health.”
Reinbeck added, “However, federal minister of nutrition Cem Özdemir must not leave any loopholes in such a law. The influencer recommendation for McDonald’s is noticed by children just as much as the clip from Coca-Cola during the commercial break for Germany’s Next Top Model.
“Create broadcast times without junk food advertising, limit ads on the Internet and via social media – all these measures must not only affect children’s formats, but must take into account all forms of advertising for particularly unhealthy foods.”
A child in Germany sees an average of 15 commercials or ads for unhealthy foods per day, a study by the University of Hamburg has revealed.
Of the total, five are on the Internet and ten are on television, with 92% of the food commercials that children see on the Internet and TV advertising unhealthy products, such as fast food, snacks or sweets (TV 89%, Internet 98%).
Last year, the central association for the German advertising industry, Zentralverband der deutschen Werbewirtschaft (ZAW), announced a new code of conduct for the advertising of food products, which seeks to provide ‘even more protection’ for children under 14.