British government launches negotiating a ban on ‘unhealthy’ food advertising

A consultation has been launched on proposals to ban online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt in the UK.

The consultation, which will run for six weeks, will gather views from the public and industry stakeholders to understand the impact and challenges of introducing a total ban on the advertising of these products online. Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “I am determined to help parents, children and families in the UK make healthier choices about what they eat. We know as children spend more time online, parents want to be reassured they are not being exposed to adverts promoting unhealthy foods, which can affect eating habits for life. This will be a world-leading measure to tackle the obesity challenges we face now but it will also address a problem that will only become more prominent in the future.”

Public health minister Jo Churchill said: “It’s vital we build on the world-leading obesity measures announced in July to ensure our efforts to tackle childhood obesity have the greatest impact… This is part of a package of measures to help families. We want to support people of all ages to make healthier choices.”

In 2019 the government consulted on restricting advertising for TV and online, and in July 2020 confirmed its intention to introduce a 9pm watershed on TV.