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Fruit juice ban for ads aimed at children in sugar crackdown

The vast majority of fruit juices will be banned from advertising aimed at children in a bid to cut down on juvenile obesity, the Government has proposed.

Under new rules, 90 per cent of fruit juices on the market will be deemed too sugary to advertise, with only those highest in fibre and “bits” eligible for promotion.

Currently only nine per cent are banned.

Fruit juices have not been deemed unhealthy per se, and Public Health England (PHE) still recommends that 150ml diluted and consumed with a meal is acceptable.

However, the proposed new framework reflects growing disquiet around the the amount of juice children are drinking, some of which contain more sugar than certain fizzy drinks.

The proportion of milkshakes allowed to be marketed at children will also be slashed from just under three quarters to 55 per cent as part of a wider strategy to tackle soaring obesity levels.

The measures, which have been published for consultation, were last night welcomed by health campaigners who said they showed the Government was starting to “get real” about the dangers of too much juice.

150ml  of juice, diluted and consumed with a meal, is acceptable. That should be their lot.Tam Fry, the National Obesity Forum

They come a fortnight ahead of the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – dubbed the “sugar tax” – which imposes a tax on sodas, such as some Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, containing more than five grams of sugar per 100ml.

Fruit juices and milkshakes, however, are exempt.

Under the updated Nutrient Profiling Model, products which receive a negative score are banned from advertising during programming believed to attract an audience comprising 25 per cent or more children.

This includes advertisements on all broadcast media, print, social media and in cinemas.

While specific product placement is banned within children’s programmes themselves, the depiction of high fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) food or drink is not necessarily banned but must be “editorially justified”, according to Ofcom.

Tam Fry, Chair of the National Obesity Forum, which campaigns for better regulation of unhealthy products, said: “The fact that excessive fruit ads may be banned is good news.

“It demonstrates that PHE is starting to get real about the damage that too much juice can do to our children.

“150ml  of juice, diluted and consumed with a meal, is acceptable and is recommended to parents in its healthy eating guidance.

“That should be their lot, so who needs ads?”

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy comes into force in April

Credit:
Alamy

The British Soft Drinks Association said the proposed changes to the framework would send “mixed messages” because fruit juice is still included as one of the Government-recommended five a day.

Last October official data revealed the highest ever proportion of children in England leaving primary school obese – one in five.

Meanwhile too much sugar in the diet is thought to be behind the increasing total of youngsters needing teeth removed in hospital, which is around 170 a day.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said the updated Nutrient Profiling Model, which was last altered in 2005, would reflect recent the “most up-to-date dietary recommendations”.

However, Gavin Partington, Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: “Given that PHE continue to recommend 150ml of fruit juice as one of the 5-a-day, we are disappointed at today’s suggestion by government that fruit juice be put in the same category as other products high in fat, salt or sugar.

“The mixed-messages from government will be of no help to a population that is already falling short on 5-a-day consumption, and will place further restrictions on manufacturers when promoting PHE’s 150ml guidance for fruit juice.”

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/23/fruit-juice-ban-ads-aimed-children-sugar-crackdown/

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