New rules on advertising of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products unveiled by ASAI

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Under the new rules which come into effect from 1 December 2021, no medium can be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 50% of its audience is under 15 years of age

New rules also apply to sponsorship activities and use of licensed characters in promotional activity

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6 July 2021 | 0

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The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has unveiled new rules relating to the advertising of High Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) products which will be incorporated into the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages Section of the ASAI Code.

The new rules will restrict marketing communications for HFSS foods and beverages from being directed or targeted at children under the age of 15 through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. The rules are in response to changing media habits among young people, as well as wider concerns in society about public health challenges for this age group. Thresholds for non-broadcast media will reduce the overall exposure to HFSS product marketing communications.

 In summary, the new rules state that:

  • No medium can be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 50% of its audience is under 15 years of age
  • There are also thresholds on the amount of advertising for HFSS products that can be published by each media format. For example, no more than 33% of available outdoor space can carry HFSS product marketing communications, whilst for cinema, digital and print media, no more than 25% of the available space can carry HFSS product marketing communications
  • Marketing communications targeted at children for HFSS products cannot include a promotional offer or a competition. There are also restrictions on the use of licensed character
  • Locations primarily used by children will be prohibited to run any form of marketing communication for HFSS foods. Examples of such settings include registered crèches, pre-schools, nurseries, family and child clinics, paediatric services, schools, dedicated school transport, playgrounds and youth centres.

The above rules will be in addition to existing rules such as marketing communications should not denigrate a healthy lifestyle, not encourage unhealthy eating or drinking habits, not encourage consumption to take advantage of a promotional offer. 

The new restrictions will come into effect on 1 December 2021 and the ASAI says it will work with media and advertisers to ensure the successful rollout of the rules. 

The association will proactively monitor this area and, for the first six months after the effective date, will add any complaints that may be received into its monitoring structure, using them as a form of intelligence gathering.

ASAI will be developing a presentation that covers the rules in detail and will also be offering other required supports to help advertisers and media with the implementation of these new rules. An introductory video by Orla Twomey, Chief Executive, is available here.

“The implementation of these new rules in the ASAI Code are a significant and positive change designed to help and protect the wellbeing of children as well limit the overall exposure of HFSS advertising to the general public,” said Orla Twomey, chief executive of the ASAI.

To view the Code in full, visit www.asai.ie.

 

 

 

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