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Global food marketers take note: Chile to restrict food ads to kids

The Health Ministry of Chile has issued new regulations which significantly restrict how food marketers advertise their products on TV, the Internet, and other media directed to children under the age of fourteen in that country.

Foods covered by the regulations, which take effect June 2016, include those with high levels of sugar, saturated fat, sodium, or calories.

The new regulations also prohibit the use of promotional gifts and contests and sweepstakes when marketing foods covered by the regulations, and forbid the sales of covered products in schools.

The regulations also mandate covered products be labelled with an octagon symbol that indicates “high sodium,” “high sugar,” “high calories,” or “high saturated fats.”

“Even though Chile’s new regulations don’t take effect for almost a year, marketers should start planning well in advance to ensure that marketing and labeling of covered food products will comply with the new rules,” said Jeffrey  Greenbaum, chairman of Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA) and Managing Partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz in New York.

Food marketing to children has been a perennial Washington issue as a way to combat obesity. As an alternative to new laws or regulations, the food industry adopted voluntary guidelines for advertising to children under 12 through the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. The CFBAI, which updated its guidelines in 2013, has 17 participating companies representing more than 80 percent of all child-directed TV advertising.