In Great Britain, A Health and Social Care Select Committee and some of the members of the Parliament are now suggesting a ban for “brand-generated characters or TV and film characters” to be used on unhealthy food packaging. These characters are more commonly used to convince kids of choosing their products, which often are high in sugar, fat or salt.
The ban suggests that fictional characters, like Tony the Tiger and the Milky Bar Kid, should no longer be used to promote food which can be harmful for kids, in a hope to decrease child obesity.
Studies have shown that 50% of kids in the UK believe that food products which have Shrek on their packaging taste better. The suggested ban comes after figures have shown that one in 25 children by the age of 10 in England is considered to be severely obese.
Dr. Sarah Wollaston, a conservative member of the Parliament and Chairwoman of the Committee, said: “Children are becoming obese at an earlier age and staying obese for longer. The consequences for these children are appalling and this can no longer be ignored.”
But the politicians are not alone. The famous TV cook Jamie Oliver gave evidence to the committee saying that using appealing cartoon characters to attract kids puts the National Health Services in real danger if the government does not prevent this type of advertisement.
Jamie Oliver said: “The government needs to launch a multi-pronged strategy that pulls every possible lever to help support better outcomes for our kids. In turn, we need to make healthier food cheaper and more easily available for parents.”
There are not just advocates of the packaging ban, Stephen Woodford, the chief executive of the Advertising Association said: “The UK had among the strictest rules in the world on promoting products that are high in fat, sugar and salt to under-16s. “
Furthermore, he said: “We remain of the view that measures such as a 9pm watershed would be ineffective in tackling the complex root causes of childhood obesity which are linked to a whole range of factors, including socio-economic background, ethnicity and educational attainment”