TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - In order to help parents and kids make healthier choices, eighteen leading food and beverage companies have come together to support one set of standard nutrition criteria for advertising products to children under 12, the Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) announced today. The CAI, administered by Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), is a voluntary program designed to shift advertising of food and beverages to children to the promotion of healthier choices (the participating companies are listed below).
At present, companies participating in the CAI either don't advertise to children, or have committed to advertise only better-for-you products to children under 12. Today's changes mean all companies that advertise to children will follow one set of standards to identify whether a food or beverage can or cannot be advertised – whether it meets the "better-for-you" criteria – as part of the program.
"The new nutrition criteria represent an important step forward in the ongoing evolution of the CAI. Consistent, meaningful, and transparent criteria will help parents who want to make healthier dietary choices for their children and families," said Linda J. Nagel, President and CEO of ASC.
The changes to the program include:
- uniform nutrition criteria for eight distinct product categories − milk and alternatives; grain; soups; meat and alternatives; vegetables and fruit; occasional snacks; mixed dishes; meals on the go
- calorie maximums for products within each category
- criteria for "nutrients to limit", i.e. saturated and trans fats, sodium and total sugars
- criteria for "nutrients to encourage", i.e. vitamins, minerals and fibre
The new criteria are expected to affect approximately 35% of products currently advertised by participants, and come into effect December 31, 2015.
"As a Registered Dietitian and mother of three, I see these criteria as a positive step towards helping parents gain clarity about what constitutes healthier food choices," said Lydia Knorr, Registered Dietitian.
Public Opinion Research
A national omnibus survey, conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies Public Engagement and Research Group (H+K) on behalf of ASC, provides important insights about consumer views on health and wellness in Canada, including a strong consensus that the environment for making healthier food and beverage choices has improved over the past five years.
Key findings of the national survey include:
- 72% reported that healthier food and beverage options have increased in the past 5 years
- 80% believe they make better dietary choices now versus five years ago
- 85% see a role for the food and beverage industry to provide them with information to make healthier choices
In the survey, Canadians reported having more healthy food choices available to them than just 5 years ago. The CAI's new nutrition criteria will help make the healthier choice the easier choice for parents.
For more information on the Public Opinion Research please visit http://www.adstandards.com/en/childrensInitiative/uniformNutritionCriteria.html
2013 Compliance Report
ASC also released its 2013 CAI Compliance Report today. The Report confirms a continuing high level of compliance by companies participating in the program.
"We are pleased to report excellent compliance by all participants in 2013," said Linda Nagel, ASC. "This is consistent with previous years and demonstrates ongoing participant commitment to the program."
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 child-directed advertising 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, including Canada's Food Guide.
Participating companies are: Campbell Company of Canada; Coca-Cola Ltd.; Danone Inc.; Ferrero Canada Ltd.; General Mills Canada Corporation; Hershey Canada Inc.; Kellogg Canada Inc.; Kraft Canada Inc.; Mars Canada Inc.; McCain Foods (Canada); McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited; Mondelēz Canada; Nestlé Canada Inc.; Parmalat Canada; PepsiCo Canada ULC; Post Foods Canada Inc., Unilever Canada Inc. and Weston Bakeries Limited.
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 organizations and suppliers – are committed to supporting responsible and effective advertising self-regulation.
The CAI Nutrition Criteria White Paper, 2013 CAI Compliance Report, and information about the CAI are available at: www.adstandards.com/childrensinitiative.
1 Child-directed advertising is advertising primarily directed to children under 12 years of age
SOURCE: Advertising Standards Canada
For further information: David Rodier, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, Tel: 613-786-9945, [email protected]