Last December CAP announced some new restrictions on the use of HFSS (high fat, salt, and sugar) foods in non-broadcast advertising. These changes come into force tomorrow (1 July 2017) which means that any existing advertisements which do not comply with the new rules will need to be amended or withdrawn. There is one exception to this if you can demonstrate that your media space was booked before the rules were announced on 8 December 2016.

What are the changes?

  1. Media restrictions for HFSS products and brands.
  2. Content restrictions for HFSS products.

What do you need to know?

There are four key points that you need you know to comply with the new restrictions:

  1. Firstly, work out whether any of your products are classed as HFSS using the Department of Health’s nutrient profile model (see here). If so, take note of the following 3 points, if not, the advertising in relation to that product will not be subject to the new rules.
  2. Make sure that your ad (featuring the HFSS product) is not shown in (a) children’s media (e.g. before a children’s film in the cinema or within an app for a children’s game); and (b) in media where over 25% of the audience is made up of children. The latter category could include anything from a billboard at a football match to a banner ad on Youtube – it will depend on the audience demographic.
  3. If your brand is synonymous with a HFSS product or products, the restriction in 2(b) will still apply to you.
  4. If your ad (through its content) is targeted at children under 12 years old, ensure that it does not include promotions, licensed characters or celebrities popular with children. This rule already exists in the CAP code but used to apply to all food except fruit and vegetables, CAP have now narrowed the restriction so that it only applies to HFSS foods.