TORONTO, Sept. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) today released its fifth annual Compliance Report on the Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI), covering 2012.The Report confirms the continuing high level of compliance by companies participating in the CAI in meeting their program commitments.
ASC is also announcing that Mondelēz Canada, maker of popular biscuit and confectionery products such as Mr. Christie's Snak Paks, belVita, Ritz and Trident, is continuing to participate following its split from Kraft Foods. In October 2012, Mondelēz International, Inc. (formerly known as Kraft Foods Inc.) completed the spin-off and divestiture of its North American grocery business, Kraft Foods Group, Inc. This announcement reaffirms Mondelēz Canada's support for and participation in the initiative.
Mondelēz Canada has committed to continue to advertise only products meeting the CAI's nutrition criteria to children under 12 years of age in media covered by the program.
"We are delighted that Mondelēz Canada has reaffirmed its participation in this important voluntary program. Over the past five years, the CAI has significantly changed the landscape of food and beverage advertising to children under 12. During this time, the CAI has expanded its membership, increased its scope beyond traditional media, and its Participants have reformulated many products to enhance their nutritional profile," stated Linda J. Nagel, President and CEO of ASC.
The Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI)
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.
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, such as Canada's Food Guide.
Participants have also committed to:
- incorporate only products that meet the CAI nutrition criteria in interactive games primarily directed to children under 12 years of age;
- reduce the use of third party licensed characters in advertising directed primarily to children under 12 for products that do not meet the CAI criteria;
- not pay for or actively seek to place food and beverage products in program/editorial content of any medium primarily directed to children; and
- not advertise food or beverage products in elementary schools - pre-kindergarten through Grade 6.
The 2012 Report evaluates compliance with their commitments by the following companies: BURGER KING® Canada; Campbell Company of Canada; Coca-Cola Ltd.; Danone Inc.; 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.
Five Year Progress
The CAI is a living program that has evolved significantly since its inception five years ago, including:
- expanding the scope beyond traditional media to cover child-directed advertising in video and computer games, and on mobile phones; and
- harmonizing the child-directed audience definition from 50% to 35% of television audience viewers under 12 years of age.
Since the CAI launch, the participants have reformulated and enhanced the nutrition profile of many advertised products by reducing ingredients such as trans fat, sodium, and sugar, and adding positive nutrients including fibre, whole grains, vitamins and minerals. Today, no product in the program is more than 200 calories and every meal is less than 600 calories.
With a view to continuous improvement, a process is underway to strengthen the CAI through the development of uniform nutrition criteria. These criteria will be based on generally accepted scientific evidence on diet, nutrition and public health and recommendations set out by government and institutions, including Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the US institute of Medicine.
2012 ASC Spot Check
A 2012 spot check of television advertising conducted by ASC on children's programming during a twelve-day period, shows that food and beverage commercials represent 20% of the total number of commercials aired, down from 25% in the 2011 Spot Check. Of the commercials for food and beverages aired during children's programming, 86% were for products covered under the CAI.
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.
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, comprised of 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 2012 CAI Compliance Report and information about the CAI are available at: www.adstandards.com/childrensinitiative.
SOURCE: Advertising Standards Canada
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