Voluntary Nutrition Criteria Mean Children See Ads for Healthier Foods

CFBAI Reports Outstanding Compliance during First Full Year under New Uniform Nutrition Criteria
December 21, 2015

Arlington, VA- The nation’s leading food companies agreed to use uniform nutrition standards for the products they advertise to children, and during 2014 – the first full year under the new standards – they virtually always met those commitments. The news comes from the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), a voluntary advertising self-regulation program that is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB). This program was established for responsible food companies to change what foods they advertised to children because of concerns about childhood obesity.

The Report on Compliance and Progress During 2014, issued today, summarizes CFBAI’s progress and compliance assessment based on comprehensive independent monitoring and review of the children’s food advertising landscape. The 17 companies that participated in CFBAI in 2014 are among the nation’s leading consumer packaged goods companies and quick-serve restaurants, and represent the majority of food advertising on children’s programming.

“Last year marked the first full year that CFBAI’s category-specific uniform nutrition criteria were in effect, resulting in more improvements to foods that are being advertised to children,” said Elaine D. Kolish, CFBAI director and vice president of CBBB. “Those changes, along with the hundreds of changes made earlier and since then, mean that today the foods CFBAI participants advertise to children are markedly better nutritionally than when CFBAI started nine years ago.”

“Meaningful, transparent and accountable self-regulation works,” Kolish noted. “We’re particularly proud of the fact that the amount of advertising for foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grains or dairy is steadily increasing. CFBAI is not just about reducing the sugar, salt or saturated fat content of foods.”

The Report notes that last year CFBAI monitored more than 4,000 ads on children’s media. “Overall compliance was outstanding,” said CFBAI’s deputy director, Maureen Enright, who oversees compliance monitoring. “Occasionally, we found that an ad for a food that did not meet CFBAI’s nutrition criteria had aired on child-directed programming or in digital media, and each time our participant promptly addressed the issue. The companies work hard to maintain systems and procedures to ensure their ad buys on children’s media are only for foods that meet CFBAI’s nutrition criteria.”

About the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

BBB launched the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in 2006 to shift the mix of advertising messaging directed at children to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthier lifestyles. CFBAI’s participants  currently are The American Licorice Company; Burger King Corporation; Campbell Soup Company; The Coca-Cola Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; The Dannon Company, Inc.; Ferrero USA, Inc.; General Mills Inc.; The Hershey Company; Kellogg Company; The Kraft Heinz Company; Mars, Incorporated; McDonald’s USA, LLC; Mondelēz Global LLC; Nestlé USA; PepsiCo, Inc.; Post Foods, LLC; and Unilever United States. For more information about CFBAI, visit www.bbb.org/kids_food.

About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.