According to reports, the minister is going ahead with banning television or online advertisements for junk food ahead of the television turnaround at 9 pm.
Small businesses will be exempted from the ban, part of Boris Johnson’s efforts to tackle obesity, under plans to be unveiled by the government on Thursday, The Telegraph reports.
Restaurants, cafes and bakeries feared that they would not be able to advertise their products on their social media accounts if the government went ahead with the plans outlined in the Queen’s speech.
However, it is understood that small businesses with 249 or fewer employees will be exempt from the ban and will be allowed to advertise foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).
According to the Telegraph, the ban on online advertising will stop before a complete ban, as they will only apply to paid advertising.
The Advertising Association said it was “shocked” by the move, meaning food and beverage companies would no longer be able to advertise “new product innovations and improvements.”
The sanctions will be enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, which will order companies that break the rules to remove ads and potentially sanction repeat offenders, the Telegraph says.
In its initial consultation for the move, the government cited research published by Cancer Research UK in September 2019, which shows that nearly half (47.6%) of all food advertisements are on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky One. HFSS products. This goes up to about 60% between 6 pm and 9 pm – the peak period for children.
An analysis by the Obesity Health Coalition (OHA) suggested that eliminating ads could benefit children by removing the equivalent of 150 million chocolate cookies or 41 million cheeseburgers per year from their diets.
A backgrounder released to accompany the Queen’s speech last month outlined the plans, which had previously been criticized by activists as a “headline-hunting policy” rather than helping reduce obesity rates.
Sue Eustace, director of public affairs at the Advertising Association, said: “We all want to see a healthier and more active population, but the government’s own analysis shows these measures will not work.
“The stature of society will not be achieved by punishing some of Britain’s most successful industries for minimal impact on obesity levels.”