Members of the UK food industry have attacked an advert funded by the UK Department of Health that shows a little girl eating a cake with the strapline, ‘Is a premature death so tempting?’ The advert is part of the Change4Life campaign, to which a number of key industry players have signed up. A spokesperson for the Food and Drink Federation called the advert’s approach ‘disappointing’ and said campaigns ‘are more likely to be effective if they promote simple, positive messages’ rather than ‘shock tactics’. The health charities behind Change4Life have argued that their research showed that the target audience did not find the advert shocking and that urgent steps to combat ‘obesity’ are crucial.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is also heading an advertising campaign, which aims to reduce consumption of saturated fats. However, some trade data suggests that consumers are ignoring the advice and, as the recession takes effect, are increasingly turning to ‘cheap, high-calorie’ takeaway meals.