/ Food & Drink, Health

Jamie Oliver: I’ve #AdEnough of junk food marketing – have you?

I’ve launched #AdEnough in a bid to protect kids from junk food marketing – an issue that’s long been a focus of Which? campaigns. Here’s how the campaign will help tackle the rise in childhood obesity – and I need your help.

Kids are bombarded, day in, day out, with adverts for food and drink products that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. They’re online, on TV, on bus tickets, in computer games, all over the streets – they’re everywhere!

If kids are constantly targeted with cheap, easily accessible, unhealthy junk food, just think how hard it must be to make better, healthier choices.

We have to make it easier for children to make healthier decisions. These junk food ads undermine any positive work we’re doing in schools or at home to tackle the rise of childhood obesity.

Currently, there’s nothing in place to protect our kids from seeing these adverts – apart from literally covering their eyes! And that’s where the #AdEnough campaign comes in…

The #AdEnough campaign

It’s time we put child health first. I’m calling for a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV, and for proper controls on what adverts kids see online, in the street and on public transport.

Crucially, this campaign isn’t about stopping big brands from advertising full stop; it’s about making sure kids aren’t being targeted with unhealthy products. It’s about controlling the time and place.

What’s needed?

Just like tobacco, we must limit children’s exposure to the marketing of foods high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar.

We also need a cultural shift, whereby kids’ heroes (human, superhuman or animated) don’t endorse junk food; and the advertising, entertainment, TV and film industries take responsibility for the subliminal messages they promote and the products they endorse.

We need to crack down on junk food marketing and discounts. We can’t allow promotions, such as ‘buy one, get one free’, that encourage us to buy more food that’s high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar.

Local authorities also need the power to remove junk ads from billboards, bus stops, stadiums, or from outside their schools.

Measuring our success

What gets measured gets done. We need to find new, progressive metrics that track the cause of our eating and food habits across the board.

The Department of Health does a good job tracking the scale of the problem, but an intelligent policy response is difficult without knowing about the causes (ie, our children’s exposure to junk food advertising, the proliferation of fast food restaurants, or household food insecurity).

Can you help?

We urgently need the government to act. And it’s really easy for you to help. Show your support by posting an image of yourself hiding your eyes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #AdEnough.

It should only take two minutes of your time, and this simple, repeated image will be a powerful signal to the government that our kids have had enough.

I really believe we can get this over the line – we’ve already got some amazing support in government, and from big names in the sport, health and food worlds. This could be a really key moment in our fight against childhood obesity.

We have to take proper, meaningful steps to protect kids from the future they currently face. And we have to act now. Post your #AdEnough picture, and let’s make this happen!

This is a guest post by Jamie Oliver. All views expressed are Jamie’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.

Do you agree that children need protecting from junk food marketing? How else can we tackle childhood obesity?

Comments
Member

It is also parent’s job to prevent, as far as possible, their own children from eating too much unhealthy food (or psuedo food) – if they care about their future health and fitness as they no doubt do. A constructive educational programme for parents would perhaps be more directly useful if the case can be made as compelling as it should be. It might also stop adults from too much inappropriate eating and help their own health and fitness.

Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are the single largest source of sugar in our children’s diets. That’s why at Jamie’s Italian, we’re adding 10p to the price of every soft drink with added sugar.”. Better, surely, not to serve such drinks in the first place? Set an example.

Member

Agreed, Malcolm – but many parents are also vulnerable to advertisements.

As for differential pricing between drinks artificially sweetened and sugar drinks, there is much controversy over some of the artificial sweeteners, notably aspartame, which does in some predisposed folk build up dangerous levels of one of its ingredients with far-reaching consequences if unchecked.

Some may remember the tartrazine scandal of a decade or two ago – E103 from memory. Harmless in most, but in sensitive children led to all sorts of distressful (mainly for the parents) situations. Thankfully that is now banned. Not suggesting aspartame should be banned as, unlike tartrazine whose effect was solely cosmetic appearance, aspartame does help a lot those unaffected.

Member

I see that Roger, but we surely must give grown ups free choice and rely on their own judgement. Otherwise we’d end up censoring / banning all advertising and who has the right to decide what we should and should not see? Education, warnings. information are what are needed, in my view.

Member

Agreed.

Censorship to protect the vulnerable is a whole new ball game (qv ciggies and sport)

Member

I don’t believe that tartrazine is banned in the UK, although it is in some countries. Many manufacturers did remove it following adverse publicity and since food and drink containing it must now be labelled, few manufacturers are likely to use it: https://www.food.gov.uk/science/additives/foodcolours It’s use could have been discontinued much sooner, like plastic backs in fridges and freezers.

Member

Rabbie Burns- To a Moose (mouse ) who,s nest was mown down by his plow in an Ayrshire farm field – the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley and leave us not but grief and pain for promised joy . Did I not post recently the “hidden” trade agreement let slip about the UK accepting all the chlorine chickens and junk food from the USA with “Devil Food” ingredients manufacture currently banned by the EU . I have just been reminded of it again in a Greenpeace email quoting the Guardian etc and producing Cloud Articles on the whole sleazy affair which we will all be presented with a “fait acompli ” just like which.net because of secrecy and non involvement of the British public and reminding the British public what we will be in for including loss of our voting liberty to decide our own fate taken over by US conglomerates . So we have a set of major circumstances to come that will make convos on this type of subject appear to be of no avail . They even admitted it will be “dressed up ” to make it “Acceptable ” to the UK public (bad points hidden ). Again remind you of anything ? I can add Documents Cloud links –if required just to remind posters of the basics .

Member

duncan, I’m struggling to see the relevance of the USA in this. We are just as capable of making and marketing junk food ourselves; we cannot blame the USA for everything. We have not yet accepted chlorinated chicken – washed to destroy campylobacter – and that is not what I would class as junk food (unlike, say, turkey twizzlers perhaps which contain just 34% turkey, invented as fa as I know in the UK).

Member

The USA is very relevant malcolm its mostly US -UK based conglomerates we deal with now . No matter how loudly TM shouts Donald doesn’t control me she wholeheartedly obeys him . Do you know the percentage of fat Americans is over 50 % due to junk food , what do you think the Trade Agreement will say- ECO only health food to the UK ?— yes in a “Dream World ” of non -reality .