Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina has signed up to the EU Pledge – an initiative to change food and beverage advertising to children under the age of 12 in the European Union (EU).
The Pledge is a voluntary commitment by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) to the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health – a European Commission (EC) platform set up to tackle overweightness and obesity in Europe.
FrieslandCampina spokesman Jan-Willem ter Avest told DairyReporter.com that it has a responsible to help prevent overweightness and obesity amongst children in the EU.
“Preventing and combating overweight and obesity is a shared responsibility of consumers, governments, NGOs as well as food producers and food suppliers. Royal FrieslandCampina sees it as part of its responsibility to constantly contribute to addressing this challenge,” said ter Avest.
“In their Global Strategy, the WHO pleads for responsible marketing and promotion, particularly of foods high in saturated fats, trans fatty acids, added sugars, or salt, especially to children. Many young children have difficulty understanding that advertising is a tool used to sell products. It is not until children approach the age of 12 that most are able to comprehend the purpose of advertising,” he added.
EU Pledge membership consists of two main commitments.
First, members must commit to no food and beverage advertising to children under the age of 12, except for products which fulfil specific nutrition criteria.
Members must also commit to no communications related to products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational purposes.
By signing the EU Pledge, FrieslandCampina commits to applying these standards across the EU by the end of 2012. Although the company confirmed that the December 2012 deadline would not be necessary.
“Royal FrieslandCampina has an internal standard in place since 1 January 2010, this standard is in line with the requirements of the EU Pledge, therefore we are already compliant to the standards of the EU Pledge,” added ter Avest.
Netherlands-based FrieslandCampina joins 19 other major global food brand owners working under the initiative, including Danone, Nestlé, Unilever, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Coca Cola and PepsiCo.
Those firms currently committed to the scheme represent over 80% of the EU food and beverage advertising spend.
The World Federation of Advertising, which endorses the EU Pledge, has welcomed the addition of FrieslandCampina to the initiative.
“We welcome Royal FrieslandCampina on board,” said World Federation of Advertisers managing director, Stephan Loerke.
“The value of the EU Pledge has been recognized by the European Commission for the real and measurable change it has made in terms of what foods are advertised to children. The growing ranks of the EU Pledge initiative are testament to initiative success in rallying responsible food and beverage advertisers around a common vision, which contributes to the EU’s public health goals.”