Self-Regulation by the Food Industry in Canada is Failing to Protect Children
Canada’s current approach to restricting the marketing of foods and beverages to children is not working. Self-regulatory policies currently in place in Canada are failing and children’s exposure to food and beverage marketing continues to climb.1 The Children’s Advertising Initiative (CAI) was launched in 2007 and consists of 18 companies, half of which pledged to not direct advertising to children under the age of 12, and the other half pledged to only advertise healthier dietary options. There is significant evidence that shows that volunteer pledges do not protect children from the harmful impact of food and beverage marketing. The CAI is no exception.
Since the implementation of the CAI, there has been more television food and beverage advertising to children and teens, more repetition of advertising and the continuation of advertising unhealthy products. Further, children’s overall exposure to food and beverage advertising has increased since the launch of the CAI.2 This demonstrates that the self-regulatory system is failing to protect children and that government regulation is necessary to decrease exposure of food and beverage marketing to children.
1. Potvin Kent, M. (2014). “Modelling Policy Options to Restrict Food and Beverage Marketing to Children.” November 27, 2014, slide presentation.
2. Potvin Kent, M. (2014). “Regulating Food and Beverage Advertising to Children in Canada:What Works?” May 14, 2014, slide presentation.