Britain Gets Serious About Healthy Eating

The Lempert Report
July 02, 2021

England has regulated a ban on TV ads that promote unhealthy food from appearing on television during the day, and on the internet, as an integral part of its effort to reduce obesity and to encourage healthy eating.

In the UK one in three children leave primary school overweight or obese. The new regulation won’t take place until the end of 2022. Under the plan, ads  for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar will be banned from appearing on television or UK on-demand programming before 4pm. The food ads will also be banned from sponsored online ads, but they will still be allowed to appear on the brand’s own website and social media channels.

The government restrictions will apply to all businesses with 250 or more employees that make or sell the products.  "The content youngsters see can have an impact on the choices they make and habits they form," Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said on Thursday. "With children spending more time online it is vital we act to protect them from unhealthy advertising." Research cited by the government showed that almost half of all TV food ads shown in a month in 2019 were for unhealthy food. As an aside, a sugar tax introduced in 2018 prompted some drink manufacturers to reformulate and cut their sugar levels.