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Food and beverage companies pledge to change advertising to children

A number of South African food, beverage, retail and Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) companies have announced a common commitment to change the way they market and advertise to children.

The move follows recent international developments in which some of the participating companies have made similar individual commitments.

Initiated by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), the “South African Pledge on Marketing to Children” is a voluntary commitment by the industry to undertake advertising and marketing initiatives that emphasise nutritional awareness and promote responsible marketing to children.

“This Pledge is an important milestone in indicating the South African food and beverage industry commitment to the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health in improving nutrition and promoting healthy a lifestyle,” says CGCSA spokesperson, Nick Tselentis.

The participating companies all commit to implementing industry and company-specific, voluntary measures on food and beverage advertising to children. All company commitments will meet the following minimum standards:

Appendix M (Food and Beverage Code) to the Code of Advertising Practice as administered by the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (see www.asasa.org.za).  Moreover;

The signatories agree that there will be no advertising of products to children 12 years and under, except where

I. These products represent healthy dietary choices; and / or

II. The advertising and/or marketing communication activities reference, or are in the context of, a healthy lifestyle designed to appeal to the intended audience through messaging that encourages:

a.    Good dietary habits, consistent with established scientific standards; and

b.    Physical activity.

The signatories voluntarily agree not to use celebrities or characters licensed from third-parties (such as cartoon characters) in television advertisements targeted at children of twelve years old and under unless those products represent healthy dietary choices and a healthy lifestyle.

The signatories voluntarily agree to limit marketing promotions targeted at children of twelve years old and under unless those products represent healthy dietary choices and a healthy lifestyle.

The signatories voluntarily agree to limit Marketing Communications on or in close proximity of pre-school and primary school premises.

The signatories also agree not to communicate on product in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational purposes.

The signatories agree to an independent advertising monitoring system/study to review progress on these commitments on a continuous basis.

Companies that have signed for the initiative are:

Manufacturers: Cadbury*, Coca-Cola*, Entyce/Snackworks (AVI), Kellogg*, Kraft*, Mars*, Nestle*, Oceana Brands, Parmalat, Pepsico/Simba*, Pioneer Foods, Rainbow Chicken, Tiger Brands, Unilever*.

Quick Service Restaurants: Famous Brands (Wimpy, Steers), KFC, McDonalds*, Nando’s.

Retailers: Pick n Pay.

* Companies that have international pledges in place that may further enhance their commitment. Please refer to individual websites.

For more details, contact: Nick Tselentis, CGCSA, (011) 789 5777 or email: nt@cgcsa.co.za.

Background: The CGCSA represents over 10 000 member companies in the RSA; it was formed in 2002 by merging GS1 South Africa (formerly EAN South Africa), the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association and ECR South Africa including Crime Prevention Programme, and since 2006, includes the Food Safety Initiative. The CGCSA aims to give, on behalf of its members, a single voice to government and other key bodies on all relevant industry, non-competitive, legal and regulatory affairs. As such, the CGCSA is generally mandated to deal with best practices, standards, food safety, crime prevention and legal and regulatory issues in the FMCG industry. It does not act as a referee nor as an enforcer and its key objective is to assist and facilitate the enhancement of supply chain efficiencies in the FMCG industry in the RSA.

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