Have your say on food and beverage advertising
In May the AANA announced a formal review of the Food & Beverages Advertising Code (F&B Code), which governs food and non-alcoholic beverage advertising in Australia, to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.
The F&B Code is accompanied by a Practice Note which has been developed by the AANA. The Practice Note gives guidance to advertisers and the public on the intent of the F&B Code’s clauses and must be applied by the Ad Standards Community Panel in considering its determinations.The aim of the current review of the F&B Code is to update and, where necessary, develop the Code and Practice Note so that they can continue to provide Ad Standards’ independent Community Panel with the appropriate framework to make decisions that are aligned to community expectations. It is our intention that a revised F&B Code will articulate world’s best practice standards against which it can be measured and administered.
The AANA F&B Code originally took effect in March 2007, gaining international attention as a world first. The current F&B Code applies to any advertising or marketing communication of food or beverage products other than alcohol beverages, which are subject to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code. The F&B Code aligns with the International Chamber of Commerce Consolidated Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice and Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Communications.
The F&B Code and the Children’s Code currently provide a range of requirements in relation to food and beverage advertising and marketing communication, including in relation to children. The Code specifies that food and beverage advertising and marketing communication must:
- be truthful and honest and not misleading or deceptive;
- not undermine the importance of healthy or active lifestyles;
- not encourage excess consumption;
- be based on appropriate substantiation for claims made;
- clearly distinguish advertising from editorial content such as news or current affairs;
- not portray food and beverages products as suitable meal substitutes when they are not; and
in relation to children advertising and marketing communication must not:
- encourage an inactive lifestyle or unhealthy eating or drinking habits;
- employ ambiguity or a misleading sense of urgency;
- feature inappropriate price minimisation;
- undermine the role of parents;
- appeal to children to urge parents to buy products for them (pester power);
- feature ingredients or premiums unless they are an integral element of the product;
- claim the product will give the child a physical, social or psychological advantage over other children; and
- contravene the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) Initiatives.
The review also incorporates a review of the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) Responsible Children’s Marketing and Quick Service Restaurants Initiatives. The AANA will assume responsibility for the administration of the AFGC Initiatives from 1 July 2020.
The purpose of the review is to ensure that the content of food and beverage advertising in Australia continues to adhere to a high standard of social responsibility.
The AANA has released a discussion paper to guide input into the review. We have extended our submission deadline to 5pm 12 July to encourage everyone to have their say.
It is expected that a new Code will be published in October 2020 and take effect from January 2021.
For further information or to register your interest in this review, please contact Megan McEwin, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.