Prepared Statement of Elaine D. Kolish, Vice President, Council of Better Business Bureaus, and Director, Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative On“Fact Food f.a.c.t.s., Evaluating Fast Food Nutrition and Marketing to Youth” (Rudd Center)
The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative is proud that its quick serve restaurant participants, McDonald’s and Burger King Corp., are complying with their CFBAI commitments and leading the way with ads for healthier children’s meals. The progress being made under self regulation has been cited by the Federal Trade Commission and the First Lady. The FTC’s Dec. 2012 Press Release on A Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents stated that “Pledge companies participating in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (a self-regulatory program run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus) marketed more nutritious products to children than restaurants that did not participate in this self-regulatory program.”
The CFBAI is focused on advertising directed to children under age 12, not all ads children may see, such as ads on prime time dramas and reality shows where children are usually a small minority of the audience. For example, children under age 12 were less than seven percent of the audience in the 2013 season of American Idol, and our objective is not to restrict advertising directed to adults who are the majority of the audience of that and similar programs. In child-directed advertising, both participants advertise only meals that meet meaningful nutrition criteria and both are already meeting CFBAI’s new uniform nutrition criteria that officially goes into effect at the end of this year.
Highlights on recent offerings and improvements
– Since March 2012 Happy Meals always come with apples (the meal also includes small fries (~ 100 calories))
• More than 770 million bags of apple slices have been put into kids’ hands, since March 2012
• The buyer selects the entrée & beverage (advertised choices are low-fat white or fat-free chocolate milk, or 100% apple juice
– For advertised Happy Meals the calories range from 410 to 500 and sodium from 450mg to 690 mg, depending on which entrée and beverage are chosen
• Burger King Corp.:
– Since May 2011, operators ask guests what beverage/side they want (instead of automatically serving fries and soda)
– Advertised choices include fat-free white milk, 100% juice, apple slices
– New oatmeal breakfast meal (with apples and fat-free milk) has 31 grams of whole grains (more than two servings) and only 290 calories, 9 grams sugar, and 395 mg sodium
• In 2012, both Burger King Corp. & McDonald’s dropped caramel dipping sauces (that went with the apples in their kids meals), reducing added sugars in their meals by 45-70 kcal, respectively.