Food giant Unilever has pledged to stop advertising its ice cream products to children by the end of 2020 to help tackle obesity.
The food company, which owns Wall’s ice cream, says it would limit the use of cartoon characters in its advertising.
It also said it would stop using celebrities and social media personalities in its adverts “who primarily appeal” to children under the age of 12.
— Unilever (@Unilever) February 12, 2020
Adverts for Unilever – which is behind brands such as Twister ice cream and Popsicle ice lollies – have been pulled in the past over complaints that they marketed unhealthy food to children. A Twister advert in Australia was cancelled in 2016 after complaints that it encouraged children to eat unhealthy foods.
Responsibly made range
The new rules will apply to all of the firm’s products by the end of 2020, kicking off with its Wall’s ice cream brands.
Wall’s will also launch a range of “responsibly made” products for children that contain “no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion”.
“Our promise is a genuine commitment to make and market products to children responsibly,” said Matt Close, Executive Vice President, Global Ice Cream Category.
According to the World Health Organisation 18 per cent of children and adolescents (more than 340 million people aged between five and 19) are overweight – up from four per cent in 1975. It has called on governments to restrict the advertising of sugary products to children.
The UK, Chile, Mexico and Ireland have all implemented stricter rules for children’s advertising over the last decade.
In 2018 Cadbury, Chewits and Squashies had online adverts for sweets banned under new rules targeting junk food ads for children in the UK.