Sea change for US food industry ad strategy

More American biggies are taking the pledge.

Taking a page from Kellogg’s head-turning move made last month to stave off government-enforced regulations, 11 food-and-beverage heavyweights have pledged to adopt new nutrition and advertising standards under the auspices of The Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.

Along with the cereal giant, Cadbury Adams, Coca Cola, General Mills, Hershey, Kraft Food, McDonald’s USA and PepsiCo are vowing to focus advertising that targets children 12 and under on food products that meet healthy nutritional levels, or to forgo advertising entirely.

Company commitments based on better-for-you dietary choices are required to be consistent with established scientific and/or government standards, and the BBB is planning to monitor and report on company compliance.

Specifically, Coca Cola is now publicly committing to continue its long-standing practice in the US of refraining from advertising its beverages on programming primarily aimed at children under 12. And for its part, Kraft says it will only tout beverages to kids that meet nutritional standards based on edicts from the US Dietary Guidelines and Food and Drug Administration.

Additionally, McDonald’s USA has pledged that all advertising directed at children under 12 will tout meals that meet specified calorie, fat, saturated fat and sugar limits consistent with government guidelines.

This story first appeared in KidScreen Daily.