Service(s) related to this article: Food & Beverages
Health Canada is proposing to restrict marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children under 17 years.
As part of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy the government has put forth a proposal to restrict marketing to children of unhealthy food and beverages to influence children to make healthy food choices by reducing their exposure to unhealthy food and beverage advertising. The current proposal by Health Canada would seek to make these advertising restrictions apply to all food and beverage companies to align with other international regulatory bodies in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Chile, South Korea, Sweden and Ireland that have already placed restrictions on marketing to children. At the federal level Canada currently has only a voluntary, industry-led initiative by the Children’s Advertising Initiative to set best practices for industry to restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children under the age of 12, although there are only 18 food and beverage companies that have joined this initiative. With only the province of Quebec requiring restrictions on the marketing of food to children, under its Consumer Protection Act, the new proposal would apply to all Canadian provinces and territories.
Under the current proposal to restrict marketing to children, Health Canada is looking for feedback on the following:
1. What is the right age limit for the restrictions?
2. How should “unhealthy food” be defined for the purposes of the marketing restrictions?
3. How can we determine if an advertisement is directed to children?
4. What kinds of marketing techniques should not be restricted?
As the proposal to restrict marketing to children of unhealthy foods and beverages is still, in the consultation stage (consultation closes July 25, 2017), this is industry’s opportunity to provide feedback of the marketing of their products. As this is a complicated issue that require new policy to be developed to address the best approach to regulate the advertising of food products to children and can have a large impact on a company’s marketing message, it is recommended for industry to remain engaged in the process.
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