German food marketers have tightened their self-imposed restrictions on advertising unhealthy food to children.
The Central Association of the German Advertising Industry extended the reach of voluntary restrictions on advertising of food high in fat, salt or sugar. They now apply to children 14 and under, instead of 12 and under, and extend to digital media, including “influencer engagement,” social networks and advertising on video platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
The rules do not ban advertising unhealthy foods to children outright, but they prohibit ads for them from mentioning any positive nutrients like protein.
Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture welcomed the rules, but Food Minister Julia Klöckner said the ministry would be keeping an eye on how well they are followed, suggesting that government action is possible if the voluntary guidelines are not adhered to.
However, consumer advocates charged that the guidelines did not go far enough.
“Manufacturers of sugar bombs and greasy snack foods can still legally advertise their products directly to children – contrary to the demands of the World Health Organization, medical associations, and consumer advocates,” a spokesperson for FoodWatch said.