Agreement on self-regulation
The food industry and the authorities have agreed that the industry is to regulate its own marketing to children and youth in Norway.
The Ministry of Health and Care Services, the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and a unified food industry today announced the new self-regulatory system for marketing to children and adolescents. The voluntary system is scheduled to enter into force in the autumn.
The new self-regulatory system is governed by a set of general guidelines. In addition, a new complaints commission for the food industry (MFU) will monitor the practical implementation of the system.
“We are strengthening and further developing the food industry’s own system of controls for marketing that targets children and youth. We are doing this by establishing comprehensive self-regulation and an independent body tasked with following up on breaches of the system. The main principle is that the industry pledges not to market products to children under the age of 13,” says Anders Högberg, Nutrition Manager at Orkla, who has headed the working group.
According to Mr Högberg, the system does not entail a ban on marketing to adolescents, but he emphasises that in this respect as well, the industry has pledged to exercise caution.
“It is well documented that young people over the age of 13 have an entirely different ability than children to understand media and advertising. However, it is important to underscore that we must exercise caution in communicating with adolescents. This is clearly expressed in both the MFU regulations and the applicable Norwegian regulatory framework in this field.”
“Which products does the system cover?”
“We have based our work on the self-regulatory system on a proposal by the ministries regarding categorisation of products. The categories are broadly defined and cover products such as chocolate, carbonated beverages, ice cream, biscuits, bakery goods and restaurant food,” explains Anders Högberg.
The new system is the result of a joint effort between manufacturers, the retail trade and restaurants. Håkon Mageli, EVP Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs, believes that broad-based industry collaboration played a decisive role in this matter.
“The system is well embedded in the industry. Manufacturers, sales outlets and restaurants have established a wide-ranging system. The entire industry is strongly committed, and we firmly believe that industry actors will follow the guidelines and comply with the decisions that are made,” says Mr Mageli.