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Canada’s Food and Beverage Industry Unveils Integrated Children-Focused Initiatives

New Social Marketing Campaign and Advertising Commitment Focused on Healthy Active Living


Toronto, ON., April 16: Today Canada’s food and beverage industry announced three significant initiatives that will affect the landscape for advertising and marketing directed to children under 12. Joined by the Minister of Health, the Hon. Tony Clement, Concerned Children’s Advertisers (CCA), Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) and Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) laid out the unique, integrated approach Canada is taking to help children and their families make wise choices related to healthy eating and active living.

  • Among today’s announcements is the launch of a new social marketing initiative developed by CCA, which includes two new Long Live Kids television PSAs addressing healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Under the new Canadian Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative, 15 leading Canadian food and beverage companies will devote at least 50 per cent of their ads directed to children under 12 toward the promotion of healthy dietary choices (“healthier for you“ products) and/or health active living messages. In support of this industry has announced that it will create a transparent, accountable compliance auditing process whereby Advertising Standards Canada, the independent advertising self-regulatory body, will publish the commitments made by the participating companies, audit their compliance and publicly report on the results on an annual basis.
  • Additionally, new interpretation guidelines for children’s food and beverage advertising have been added to the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children and the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.

"As we saw with the launch of Canada's new food guide this year, Canadians are becoming more and more aware of the importance of healthy eating patterns. As government we can provide people with information; while Canada's manufacturers focus on providing safe, quality food. It is essential that we work with industry and promote the idea that the excellent new research and information contained within the Food Guide should be incorporated wherever possible into the development of products which provide children with healthy eating options," Health Minister Tony Clement said.

"The fact that the charter participants of the Food and Consumer Products Association have committed to devoting at least 50 per cent of their advertising to healthy dietary choices and healthy lifestyles is an excellent step in the right direction. I believe it shows our society has learned from the experience of the last several decades and is ready to progress to a new level of social responsibility and co-operation which will benefit all Canadians, and our children in particular," Clement said.

Long Live Kids – A Social Marketing Program for the Health of Children

Part of a multi-faceted social marketing, education and media literacy program created by CCA, Long Live Kids includes a series of child-directed television public service announcements, a new online workshop for parents and educators, real life workshops by leading Canadian educator Linda Millar, as well as curriculum and community resources for children in grades K – 8. CCA’s ‘research-driven’ and ‘kid validated’ programs focus on helping children to make wise media, and life choices today and in the future, including helping them to develop a critical thinking filter around all media. The first Long Live Kids television PSA launched in 2004 (called “Health Rock”), reached 96 per cent of Canadian children and 83 per cent of those aware of the PSA agreed that it would make them stop and think about their food and activity choices, further 61 per cent reported it will make them act differently.

“An announcement of this scope and scale is only possible with a great deal of will and collaboration. The real power of today is that 16 leading Canadian health, education and community NGO’s have come together, with government and industry, to inform and enable change for the health of Canadian children. In addition to responsible advertising practices, social marketing, education and media literacy have been identified as critical tools necessary to support healthy lifestyles for our children. We are very pleased to be announcing this next phase. Combining changes to advertising practices with enhanced social marketing and education initiatives makes Canada’s approach truly unique and powerful,” said Cathy Loblaw, President, CCA.

Leveraging Advertising and Marketing resources: The Canadian Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative…2

Under the new Canadian Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative, 15 Canadian companies including: Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell, Coca-Cola Ltd., General Mills, Hershey, Janes Family Foods, Kellogg, Kraft., McCain Foods, McDonald’s, Nestle, Parmalat, PepsiCo, Unilever and Weston Foods will devote at least 50 per cent of their television, radio, print and Internet advertising directed primarily to children under 12 years of age to further the goal of promoting healthy dietary choices and /or healthy active living. Each participating company will also formalize and publish an individual plan that sets out how their commitments will be achieved beginning January 2008. ASC will act as the independent third party administrator - publishing the commitments made by the participating companies, auditing participant compliance, and publicly reporting on the results. In effect these companies will be shifting the emphasis of their children’s advertising and marketing to healthy active living messages and/or foods and beverages that are consistent with the principles of sound nutrition guidance, including those that are lower in total calories, fats, salt and added sugars and higher in nutrients that are significant to public health.

“The food and beverage industry is well aware of the global, and Canadian, concerns around childhood obesity and are committed to bringing industry’s resources to the table to help address a complex societal and public health issue. Several years ago, industry set out to bring forward meaningful changes that leveraged the strength of Canada’s existing system while integrating recommendations from Canadian and international issue experts including the International Institute of Medicine (IOM). Today industry is unveiling a comprehensive initiative not only on TV but in key areas of interest including the Internet, entertainment media, in schools and through the use of licensed characters. It’s a natural evolution that builds on the food industry’s extensive efforts in the area of product reformulation as well as packaging and portion-size innovation,” said Nancy Croitoru, President & CEO, FCPC.

“We are pleased to see that industry has used established standards such as Canada’s Food Guide and the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check program to guide this initiative’s dietary recommendations,” said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “While there remains much to be done to address the issue of obesity in Canada, industry’s efforts around product reformulation combined with this important advertising commitment are positive steps forward that we will continue to monitor and encourage.”

Strengthening the System to Protect Kids

As it stands today, Canada has one of the strongest frameworks in the world for regulating advertising to children. Canada’s system for regulating children’s food and beverage commercials starts with government regulations under the Food and Drugs Act. Additionally, children’s food and beverage commercials are subject to the requirements of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. Adherence to this broadcast code, including preclearance of each children’s commercial by a committee that includes industry and parent representatives, is a condition of broadcast license by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Canada’s self-regulatory system also includes a rigorous system for responding to consumer complaints about advertisements under the provisions of Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, which covers all media.

Today’s announcement strengthens the advertising framework by adding new Interpretation Guidelines. Published today, and effective in September of this year, both the Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children and the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, which covers all media, will be enhanced with provisions that encompass healthy child development and appropriate food and beverage consumption. These Interpretation Guidelines will help ensure that advertising to children encourages responsible product use, and that the amount of food shown being consumed does not exceed an appropriate single serving size. “ASC will ensure that the Canadian Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative is both accountable and transparent to the Canadian public,” said Linda J. Nagel, ASC President and CEO.

Leveraging Advertising and Marketing resources: The Canadian Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative…3

Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) is the national 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 non-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, and ASC reports to the community on upheld complaints in its quarterly Ad Complaints Report. Through ASC Clearance Services, ASC provides advertising copy review to ensure compliance in five regulated categories. ASC is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2007.

Concerned Children's Advertisers (CCA) is a non-profit organization of 22 member companies, supported by over 40 partner companies and governments, issue experts and NGOs, that work together to contribute positively to the media and life issues that affect children. For over 17 years, Concerned Children's Advertisers has been giving Canadian children tools to be media and life wise through its award-winning public service announcements and education programs.

Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) is the largest industry association representing Canadian-operated food and consumer product companies that make and market retailer and national brands sold through retail and foodservice outlets. In 2005, the industry employed approximately 300,000 Canadians across the country, making it the largest employer in the Canadian manufacturing sector, and generated $24 billion annually in GDP (13% of the Manufacturing Gross Domestic Product). On an annual basis, the industry donates an estimated $100 million in cash donations to charitable causes and over 5 million bags of groceries to food banks in Canada. The industry has a record of embracing world-class regulatory standards and is governed by 442 federal and provincial pieces of legislation, as well as thousands of regulations and self-imposed standards.

For further information, please contact:

Gabby Nobrega
FCPC
416-510-8024 x 2226
gabbyn@fcpc.ca

Thomas Vandepeer
FCPC
416-510-8024 x 2253
thomasv@fcpc.ca

Media are advised:

  1. Additional regional spokespeople are available including for BC and French-speaking
  2. A b-roll regarding this announcement including event photographs with the Hon. Tony Clement is available via satellite at:

    14:30 - 15:00 firm, Eastern, Monday April 16, 2007
    Anik F2C/7B @ 111.1 West
    Vertical Polarization, D/L Freq. 3980 MHz.
    Audio subcarriers 6.8 left, 6.2 right

    Also Available at Toronto T.O.C.:
    PGAD 14:30 - 15:00 Eastern, Monday April 16, 2007
    Magnacom NOVSXS 225340 - 002 (SDI Router Position # 42)