Action on Junk Food Marketing
Parents’ efforts to help their children eat
healthily are being undermined by sophisticated promotions for
unhealthy foods on TV and online – these adverts are exploiting
loopholes in advertising regulations.
We want the UK Government to introduce
stronger regulations to stop companies from advertising unhealthy
foods directly to children.
Junk food marketing to children has become more sophisticated
than ever. Loopholes in the rules governing online and TV marketing
mean that they're not up to the job of protecting our children.
- Children’s TV viewing peaks between eight and nine pm, but laws
created to protect children from junk food adverts don’t typically
cover this period.
- Rules covering online marketing are vague and don't distinguish
between healthy and unhealthy foods, making it easier to advertise
unhealthy products online and harder for the public to fight back
- The current system for online marketing is self-regulatory, the
food industry are involved in developing and enforcing the
Marketing plays a role in influencing children's dietary
chioices. In the UK, around 30 per cent of children are overweight
or obese, putting them at greater risk of developing serious
health problems later in life, including coronary heart disease.
What needs to happen?
- A ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm
- A distinction between healthy and unhealthy foods written into
rules covering online marketing.
- Tighter regulation for online marketing of junk foods. New
rules should be written, monitored and enforced by an independent
petition to tell the UK Government to close down loopholes
and create a system that protects children from junk food
Find out more about junk food marketing by
downloading our campaign briefing.
What do kids think?
Hannah, 10, is supporting the campaign.
“Eating healthily is important for children my age, so being
persuaded by adverts to eat junk food is really bad for us. Junk
food ads mean that children pester their parents for junk food,
wasting their money as well as making them unhealthy.
Also, think about it, if we get into the bad habit of eating
junk food now, when we grow up and have a family they’d eat it too
– it affects future generations!”
Dillon, 12, doesn’t think that junk food should be
advertised to children.
“When I’m playing online or watching TV, I see lots
of fun adverts for snacks and drinks. Sometimes it makes me really
want to buy the stuff because they usually have cool music and
It’s weird to think that big companies target kids on purpose. I
don’t think my mum would like it if she knew, because she wants me
to eat healthily and protect my heart.”