Marketing F&B responsibly to children

RetailME Bureau

The Advertising Business Group (ABG), a not-for-profit group registered under the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and the GCC Food & Beverage (FBA) members have signed a memorandum of understanding and committed to working together towards making the “Responsible Marketing to Children” Pledge into an industry standard.

The pledge is a voluntary commitment to the way food and beverage (F&B) products are marketed to children under the age of 12 in the region. It is applicable to products containing saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sugars and/or salt.

The endorsement of the “Responsible Marketing to Children” Pledge by the ABG is the first step towards making this the standard across the advertising & marketing industry via self-regulation, and thus driving greater consumer confidence.

“Advertising to children can be a very sensitive issue. Yet it can be valuable and meaningful as it can educate, excite, entertain and inform them if done in a responsible manner,” says Sanjiv Kakkar, ABG chairman & EVP Unilever MENA, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus. “As the region’s leading body advocating for responsible and ethical advertising, the ABG is delighted to endorse the Responsible Food & Beverage Marketing to Children Pledge adopted by the GCC FBA members. We are committed to working with them to make this the industry standard via self-regulation.”

This pledge was signed in 2009 by the leading F&B companies in the GCC – including Ferrero, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Mars, Mondelēz MEA, Nestlé Middle East, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever – and applies to marketing material across several channels including TV, print, owned/third-party websites, radio, cinema, interactive games, SMS and more. The commitment also ensures that there is no communication related to F&B products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by the local administrational authorities for educational purposes, and only when the products showcased are compliant with the nutritional criteria. To ensure that strict standards are upheld, the companies have developed a set of regional nutrition criteria that are identical to those mentioned in the European Union pledge of the same nature.

“As leading food and beverage organisations in the region it is critical to us that our marketing & promotional efforts are conducted in an ethically responsible manner. This pledge reflects that commitment and ensures that young people are able to make informed decisions about the food and beverages they consume,” adds Christine Greaves, corporate affairs director Mars Gulf, spokesperson for the GCC FBA.