The IPA has issued its response to the publication of the Government's obesity strategy.
Says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA:
We have always supported the aim of tackling the problem of obesity in the UK but we have always made the case that the introduction of further restrictions on advertising will not help achieve that aim.
"We are deeply disappointed by these proposals. They disregard the evidence – including the Government’s own – on the impact of restrictions on HFSS advertising and will punish the very businesses that have been helping the country get through the Covid-19 crisis, including food manufacturers, retailers and commercial broadcasters and online publishers. They also fail to acknowledge the UK’s highly respected self-regulatory system which already imposes tough rules on the advertising of HFSS products across all media, including TV and online.
"The Government’s own evidence shows that a pre-9pm TV ad ban would reduce children’s calorie consumption by only 1.7 calories a day, ineffective by any standards. It also acknowledges that the direct link between food marketing and obesity is difficult to measure and quantify due to obesity being a multi-factorial condition.
"The proposals come at the worst possible time for the advertising sector and for industry. The Government should be supporting businesses which have been reeling from the Covid-19 crisis, not banning them from advertising their products.
"The Government is encouraging the country to Eat Out to Help Out but at the same time intending to introduce a ban on advertising HFSS products. Advertising fuels the economy and should be used as a key enabler in getting the country’s economy back on its feet. Ad bans will do the opposite."
The IPA had communicated it's opposition to the proposals before they were formally announced in two letters to the Prime Minister. One from Director General Paul Bainsfair, and another co-signed with other industry leaders.