This approach is not working.
- Between 2006 and 2009, children’s exposure to food marketing on TV increased by 17% in Toronto and by 6% in Vancouver.
- The healthfulness of food advertising has not changed since the implementation of the pledges.
- The majority of foods and beverages advertised to children are still considered unhealthy and remain high in fat, sugar and salt.
- In television advertisements, there has been increasing use of spokes-characters such as Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger and licensed characters, such as Dora the Explorer, to help sell food products.
- Companies that are not part of The Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Marketing Initiative are completely unregulated.
Quebec has had legislation since the early 1980s to protect children from advertising.
- Under Quebec law, companies are not allowed to advertise to children under age 13. This advertising ban is not perfect but is having an impact:
- Children in Quebec see fewer food ads on television and in their schools than children in the rest of Canada.
- Some product categories such as children’s cereals and snack foods are not advertised on TV.
- Children are targeted by food ads less often.
- Spokes-characters and licensed characters are very rarely seen in children’s advertising.
- This type of regulation in Quebec is associated with decreased fast food consumption.
- Quebec has one of the highest fruit and vegetable consumption rates and the lowest childhood obesity rates among 6-11 year olds in Canada.
- In 2011, University of British Columbia’s researchers Drs. Tirtha Dhar and Kathy Baylis estimated the Quebec ban reduced fast-food consumption by US $88 million per year.