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AANA responds to calls to ban food and beverage advertising

June 19, 2023
The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) acknowledges community concern about child obesity, but blanket bans on advertising for some parts of the food and beverage industry are not going to solve the problem and will lead to job losses during difficult economic times.
Reducing childhood obesity is an important issue that requires a wholistic approach involving education, parental guidance, promotion of healthy eating habits, and encouragement of physical activity.
AANA CEO Josh Faulks said; ‘The advertising industry recognises community concerns around childhood obesity and the role advertising plays. That is why we have established some of the strongest rules in the world around food and beverage advertising to children and are proud of nearly 100 per cent compliance rate with decisions made by the independent complaints handling body, Ad Standards. With strong rules already in place, blanket advertising bans are unnecessary and will cause job losses across multiple sectors as we face into significant economic headwinds.’
Australia has some of the most rigorous rules concerning food and beverage advertising in the world. The Food & Beverages Advertising Code (the Code) prohibits the targeting of children (under 15 years of age) with ads for occasional food and beverages (see definition below). This restriction applies to all advertising, across all media channels, at all times of the day.
The Code also imposes specific restrictions on the placement of occasional food and beverage ads. They are prohibited during children’s content, C or P rated programs, within a 150-meter radius of schools, or when the proportion of adults in the total audience is less than 75%.
The food and beverage industry directly and indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of Australians across multiple sectors including restaurants, takeaway food services and primary producers such as poultry, meat and grain. A ban of advertising across some parts of the industry will lead to reductions in sales and subsequent job losses across the supply chain.
The AANA and the advertising industry remain committed to working with the government to reduce childhood obesity.
(Occasional foods and beverages are defined by the government’s standards. Some foods are called ‘discretionary choices’ (sometimes referred to as ‘junk foods’) and they should only be eaten occasionally. These products are determined based on tests set by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), specifically the nutrient profile score test. Any food or beverage failing to meet the FSANZ nutrient profile score test cannot be advertised to children in Australia.)