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Brands off our kids

Thursday 2 December, 2021

Every child should be able to play, learn and live in a world that supports and promotes their health and wellbeing.

Right now, the processed food industry spends millions of dollars every year targeting Australian children with marketing for unhealthy food in every aspect of their lives.

Food companies and fast-food chains craft campaigns to ensure unhealthy food brands are present in children’s lives from a young age, building powerful brand awareness and normalising unhealthy food, grooming them to be loyal customers for life. But as big food companies make more and more profit as a result, it is our children’s health that is at risk, now and into the future.

Our community expects government to put the health of children before corporate profits. That includes setting higher standards to protect children from the processed food industry’s unhealthy food marketing.

A recent national survey revealed that 7 in 10 Australians want government to step in and protect our children from unhealthy food marketing. The need and support for urgent government action is clear. The Obesity Policy Coalition’s ‘Brands off our kids!’ report sets out four actions to protect all Australian children from unhealthy food marketing:

  1. Ensure TV, radio and cinemas are free from unhealthy food marketing from 6am to 9.30pm

  2. Prevent unhealthy food companies from targeting children

  3. Ensure public spaces and events are free from unhealthy food marketing

  4. Protect children from digital marketing of unhealthy food

“We know that the processed food industry is getting away with airing three unhealthy food ads every hour during children’s peak TV viewing times; with making apps designed specifically to promote unhealthy brands to very young children; and with saturating digital media with unhealthy food so that Australian children aged 13-17 years are exposed to almost 100 online promotions for unhealthy food every single week,” said Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition.

“For too long we have left it up to junk food companies to police themselves. This report, together with strong public push for government regulation, adds to the litany of evidence which highlights a need for government action to protect children from the processed food industry’s unhealthy food marketing.”

The Obesity Policy Coalition is urging all governments across Australia to adopt regulation to effectively protect children from unhealthy food marketing, including in all forms of media and in the online environment.

The Obesity Policy Coalition is a partnership between Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, and the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University, a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention. The Obesity Policy Coalition advocates for evidence informed policy and regulatory change to address overweight, obesity and unhealthy diets in Australia, particularly among children.

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