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Advertising Standards Canada releases First Compliance Report on Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

Food and Beverage Companies exceed original requirements

(Toronto - July 14, 2009) Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) today released its first annual Compliance Report on the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI). The report details the progress made by leading food and beverage companies participating in this program to change the landscape of children’s food and beverage advertising. The Compliance Report covers 2008 – the inaugural year of the program – and concludes that all of the participating companies fulfilled their program commitments. Only two minor compliance issues were uncovered by ASC. These were inadvertent, and were immediately corrected by the involved Participants.

“Because participation in the CAI is voluntary, we expected a high degree of compliance. This first Report demonstrates that the participating companies successfully met the commitments they set for themselves – even exceeding the original program requirements,” noted Linda Nagel, President and CEO of ASC. “These were significant achievements, and we congratulate these companies for making this initiative a high corporate priority.”

Of the 16 participating companies, eight did not direct any advertising to children under 12 years of age.The remaining eight all exceeded the CAI’s baseline requirement by committing that 100% of their advertising directed to children under 12 would be for products that met the CAI’s nutrition standards, rather than the minimum 50% required for participation. As well, while the CAI required that products meet at least one of the CAI’s nutrition standards, all advertised products met at least two.

The Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI)

Under the CAI 18 of Canada’s leading food and beverage advertisers committed to either not direct advertising primarily to children under the age of 12, or to shift their advertising to products that are consistent with principles of sound nutrition guidance.

This Compliance Report evaluates the individual Commitments made by the16 companies that signed on to the initiative when it was originally announced in 2007.The Participants reviewed in the Report are: Cadbury Adams Canada Inc.; Campbell Company of Canada; Coca-Cola Ltd.; General Mills Canada Corporation; Hershey Canada Inc.; Janes Family Foods Ltd.; Kellogg Canada Inc.; Kraft Canada Inc.; Mars Canada Inc.; McCain Foods (Canada); McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited; Nestlé Canada Inc.; Parmalat Canada; PepsiCo Canada ULC; Unilever Canada Inc. and Weston Bakeries Limited.

Two additional companies, Burger King Restaurants of Canada, Inc. and Ferrero Canada Ltd., joined the program subsequent to the 2007 announcement, bringing the current complement to 18.

Transparency and public accountability are key components of the CAI. As program administrator, ASC provides independent oversight to the CAI by:

  • approving and publishing the Participants’ Commitments;
  • auditing Participants’ compliance; and
  • issuing annual compliance reports

About Advertising Standards Canada (ASC)

Founded in 1957, ASC is the national independent advertising industry self-regulatory body committed to creating and maintaining community confidence in advertising. ASC members, leading advertisers, advertising agencies, media and suppliers to the advertising industry, are committed to supporting responsible and effective advertising self-regulation. A not-for-profit organization, ASC administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, the principal instrument of advertising self-regulation in Canada, and a national mechanism for accepting and responding to consumers’ complaints about advertising. Complaints are adjudicated by independent volunteer councils, comprising senior industry and public representatives. ASC reports to the community on upheld complaints through its online Ad Complaints Reports. Through ASC Clearance Services, ASC provides advertising copy review in five regulated categories to ensure compliance with specific laws, regulations, codes and guidelines.

The Year One Compliance Report and information about the CAI is available at: www.adstandards.com/childrensinitiative.

For more information:
David Rodier
NATIONAL Public Relations
Tel: 613-233-1699 extension 243
drodier@national.ca