Nestle finally joins the fight against children obesity
Consumers groups and health officials welcome Nestles’ decision to cut down on the marketing of unhealthy junk food to children as part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ (BBB) Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.
The initiative was launched by BBB in 2006 to promote responsible advertising among food manufacturers. With the rising problem of obesity and diabetes among children, clearly there was a need to change the messages of ads directed at the under-12 audience. And the direction should be towards encouraging healthy lifestyles and eating habits.
Unfortunately, the initiative wasn’t embraced by each and every company in the food industry. As of June this year, 13 major food companies have pledged their commitment, including Coca-Cola, Kraft, McDonald’s, Cadbury Adams, Hershey, and Mars. Nestle wasn’t among them.
Nestle, one of the biggest food manufacturers in the world claims to be “the world’s leading nutrition, health, and wellness company”, was criticized for its lack of social responsibility. Although it was part of similar initiatives in other countries (e.g. Canada and Europe), it was reluctant to participate in the American initiative.
According to the assessment of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), 93% of Nestle products targeted for child consumption were of poor nutritional quality.
BBB, CSPI and other groups applaud Nestle’s change of heart. Staring 1st of January, all of Nestle’s food ads directed at children will be only for products of high nutritional value. However, many food companies still haven’t joined the initiative.
In the European Union, new laws have curbed advertising junk food for children under EU Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices which is being implemented independently in each member country.