Do not eat too fatty, too sweet, too salty. The holy trinity for eating better may be displayed, in very small form, on television advertisements or recited on the radio, but the observation is implacable. One in six children is overweight or obese in France, recalls Foodwatch, which unveiled its investigation into the marketing of “junk food” which targets young people.
Overexposure to “aggressive food marketing and advertising” has serious health consequences for adolescents, whose likelihood of remaining obese as adults is 50% to 70%. The NGO targets groups such as Coca-Cola, Kellogg's and Danone in particular.
Like countries like Norway, Chile, Spain and Canada, Foodwatch is calling for France to more strictly regulate advertising, instead of relying on the voluntary work of the companies concerned. Colorful packaging, friendly mascots, attractive games… everything is good to encourage children, who “grow up in an obesogenic environment”, to want these products.
A 2019 Court of Auditors report on the prevention and management of obesity judged that the self-regulation of food advertising aimed at children “was not very effective”. Although the law prohibits food advertising during programs dedicated to young people on television, children spend more and more time in front of other screens such as touchscreen tablets or smartphones.
In 2007, the groups Burger King, Coca-Cola, Danone, Ferrero, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever had made "voluntary" commitments to make their marketing more "responsible", recalls the NGO . It was the birth of the EU Pledge, signed by 23 companies, which marked the end of advertising to children under 13, “except for products that meet the nutritional criteria of the “White Book” that they designed it themselves. »
Out of 228 foods and drinks analyzed by the NGO, only 10 pass the nutritional profile test defined by the WHO. “These voluntary commitments are insufficient and ineffective,” says Foodwatch, which calls for marketing restrictions aimed at children up to 18 years old.