Chocolate manufacturer Mars remains firmly entrenched top of a list of Australian companies that have breached the children’s food marketing code for advertising junk food to kids.
In a report released yesterday by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, it found that Mars (makers of Mars Bars, Snickers, M&Ms, Snickers and PODs) breached the code 102 times in 2014. Admittedly this was down from its top-placed 152 breaches in 2013
To breach the code a junk food advertiser has had to have deliberately targeted kids during children’s TV shows. A kids show is one deemed to have at least a third of its audience as children and can include shows such as MasterChef or X-Factor.
Many of Australia’s top companies have signed up to the self-regulating code including all the major fast food giants, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Campbells-Arnott’s, Mondelez, Nestle and Ferrero.
Mars, who’ve topped the breach list for the past three years, complained in the report that its ad placements were out of its control and had been done by agencies. It had also been given free air time in shows that weren’t traditionally seen as kid’s TV.
“Mars is … concerned by the breaches … [and] recognises there are still improvements to make and will partner with both internal and external stakeholders to enhance processes and ensure compliance,” it said in the report.
Pepsi was second on the list for breaches in 2014 with 59 (up from 18 in 2013), Campbells-Arnott’s came third with 28 complaints (up from four the year previously) and Unilever was fourth with 17 complaints (down from 20 in 2013.)
Ferrero – makers of Tic Tacs, Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Surprise – doubled its number of breaches year on year but, it should be stressed, only breached the code 11 times in 2014.