The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a program of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, recently announced comprehensive, uniform nutrition guidelines that will govern advertising of food products to children. The Initiative is a voluntary, self-regulatory program aimed at improving the mix of food advertised to children to encourage healthier diets. The new guidelines incorporate food science, U.S. dietary guidelines, and the practical difficulties of changing recipes of many popular foods. Industry members who participate in the initiative, including some of the largest food and beverage producers in the U.S., must be in compliance with the guidelines no later than December 2013. Some requirements under the initiative include devoting 100% of child-directed advertising to better-for-you foods and limiting the use of third-party licensed characters, celebrities and movie tie-ins in child-directed advertising. These guidelines come shortly after the federal government's Interagency Working Group on Food Marketing to Children release of draft guidelines which many, including the Council of Better Business Bureaus, have criticized as being unrealistic.

TIP: Companies that market foods to children are facing increased regulation within the industry and at the federal level. Companies should monitor regulatory developments and be mindful of such changes as they make product and marketing decisions.