Food advertising and children

Lots of people are talking about the Agency’s Nutrient Profiling model. I’ve seen it reported in the media quite a bit lately – from the Manchester Evening News to the Romsey Advertiser!

The Nutrient Profiling (NP) model is a scientific tool, designed specifically for broadcast regulator Ofcom, to help it classify foods into what should and should not be targeted at children through TV advertising. Parts of the food industry, particularly some cheese manufacturers, are worried that some foods would be unfairly categorised as ‘less healthy’ by the NP model. However, there is no getting away from the fact that most cheeses are indeed high in fat and salt.

It is not, as some people seem to believe, a sinister plot to stop us all eating what we like.  Ofcom’s proposals relate only to broadcast restrictions at time when children will be watching TV. I, for one, have never seen an advert for Stilton on CITV or Nickelodeon Junior!

This is not about classifying foods as good or bad. Everything can have a place in a healthy balanced diet  – it’s just that some foods should be eaten more than others. We, like Ofcom and many consumer and health organisations, are simply keen to see a better balance of foods being targeted at our kids by advertisers.