Advertising Standards Canada releases 2010 Compliance Report on Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) and welcomes Danone Inc. as CAI's newest member

TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) today released its third annual Compliance Report on the Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI), covering 2010. The Report confirms the continuing high level of compliance by companies participating in the CAI in meeting their program commitments.

ASC also welcomes Danone Inc. (Danone) as the CAI's newest member. Danone is Canada's largest producer of yogurt and other fresh dairy products.

"We are delighted that Danone has joined other market leaders in this important program that is making real progress in changing the landscape of food and beverage advertising to children under 12," stated Linda J. Nagel, President and CEO of ASC.

Danone has committed to advertise only products that meet the CAI's nutrition criteria to children under 12 years of age on television, Internet, in print and in other media covered by the program.

"Danone is eager to participate in a program to promote advertising of healthier dietary choices to children.This is consistent with our mission to bring health through food to as many Canadians as possible," said Louis Frenette, CEO of Danone in Canada.

The Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI)

Program Background

The CAI was launched by Canada's food and beverage industry in April 2007. It was developed to shift the landscape of advertising primarily directed to children under 12 years of age to the promotion of better-for-you products. The CAI complements the existing rigorous Canadian framework for regulating advertising to children. This is the third annual Report by ASC, the CAI administrator, on the progress made last year by the companies participating in the CAI to meet their program commitments.

Under the CAI, leading Canadian food and beverage advertisers have committed to either not direct advertising primarily to children under the age of 12, or to shift their advertising to products that are consistent with the principles of sound nutrition guidance. The CAI requires that a Participant's nutrition criteria meet at least one of the following:

  • foods that reflect the dietary guidelines of Canada's Food Guide;
  • foods that meet criteria for disease risk reduction claims, function claims and nutrient function claims as per the CFIA Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising;
  • foods that meet the criteria for nutrient content claims as per the CFIA Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising; or
  • foods that meet the standards for participating in the Heart & Stroke Foundation's Health Check TM program.

The 2010 Report evaluates compliance with their commitments by the following 19 companies:  Burger King Restaurants of Canada, Inc.; Cadbury Adams Canada Inc.*; Campbell Company of Canada; Coca-Cola Ltd.; Ferrero Canada Ltd.; General Mills Canada Corporation; Hershey Canada Inc.; Janes Family Foods Ltd.; Kellogg Canada Inc.; Kraft Canada Inc.; Mars Canada Inc.; McCain Foods (Canada); McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited; Nestlé Canada Inc.; Parmalat Canada; PepsiCo Canada ULC; Post Foods Canada Corp., Unilever Canada Inc. and Weston Bakeries Limited. *(In 2010, Kraft Canada Inc. and Cadbury Adams Canada Inc. amalgamated as Kraft Canada Inc.)

Program Enhancements

In 2010, the CAI core principles were enhanced. These changes:

Doubled the original participant commitment from 50% to 100% so that all participants' advertising directed primarily to children under 12 must be for better-for-you products; and
Expanded the coverage of the CAI beyond advertising on television, radio, in print and on the Internet to the following additional media:
  i. Video and computer gamesrated "Early Childhood" or "EC" that are inherently primarily directed to children under 12, and other games that are age-graded on the label and packaging as being primarily directed to children under 12;
  ii. DVDs of "G" rated movies in which  content is primarily directed to children under 12, and other DVDs in which  content is primarily directed to children under 12; and
  iii. Mobile media such as cell phones, PDAs and through word of mouth where advertising on those media is primarily directed to children under 12.

The Changing Landscape

Since the launch of the CAI, the nutritional profile and the array of products advertised to children under 12 have continued to change as participants reformulated many products and adjusted the range of products they advertise directly to children.

Some participants ceased child-directed advertising altogether, while others launched new better-for-you entries. Improvements have also been made in many product categories, both through the reduction of ingredients including trans fat, sodium, and sugar, and through the addition of positive nutrients including fibre, whole grains, vitamins and minerals.

Examples of participants' product developments are outlined in the 2010 Compliance Report.

CAI Compliance

Transparency and public accountability are key components of the CAI. As program administrator, ASC provides independent oversight to the CAI by:

  • approving and publishing the participants' commitments;
  • auditing participants' compliance; and
  • issuing annual compliance reports

ASC evaluates participants' compliance through audit activities, monitoring, and stringent reporting requirements. Company websites, third-party websites, children's television programming and children's magazines are periodically monitored for compliance.

Advertising Standards Canada 

Founded in 1957, ASC is the national independent advertising industry self-regulatory body committed to creating and maintaining community confidence in advertising. ASC members - leading advertisers, advertising agencies, media and suppliers to the advertising industry - are committed to supporting responsible and effective advertising self-regulation. A not-for-profit organization, ASC administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada, and a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers' complaints about advertising. Complaints are adjudicated by independent volunteer councils, comprising senior industry and public representatives. ASC reports to the community on upheld complaints through its online Ad Complaints Reports. Through ASC Clearance Services, ASC provides advertising copy review in five regulated categories to ensure compliance with specific laws, regulations, codes and guidelines.
The 2010 CAI Compliance Report and information about the CAI are available at: www.adstandards.com/childrensinitiative.

SOURCE Advertising Standards Canada

For further information:

David Rodier
Hill & Knowlton Canada
Tel: 613-786-9945
david.rodier@hillandknowlton.ca

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