Boris’s Undercooked Junk Food Ad Ban mdi-fullscreen

The government has announced it is pressing ahead with plans to ban ‘unhealthy food ads online, and on TV before 9 pm, albeit with some exemptions for small and medium-sized businesses. Under the new proposals, companies with fewer than 250 employees will still be able to market their fatty foods as before, and even giants like McDonald’s can continue advertising brand-only material. So presumably they’ll refocus their ads on the quality of their coffee and carrot sticks… 

The problem now, as the IEA’s Christopher Snowden argues, is that the policy is completely ham-fisted:

“Under the new plans, an apple pie can be advertised by a café but not by the McDonalds next door. The local takeaway can advertise kebabs and pizzas but Asda cannot advertise cheese.”

The ASI’s Matthew Lesh spells out the costs involved in this nannying endeavour:

  • £1.5 billion from broadcasters
  • £3.5bn from online platforms
  • £550m from ad agencies
  • £659m from product makers

Not only do the exemptions undermine the spirit of the policy, there isn’t even a clear definition for “junk food” in the first place. Initially, it was any food deemed “high in fat, salt and sugar”, though once the government realised that would even ban products like honey, jam, and avocados, they very quickly added a load of arbitrary exemptions. As far as Guido’s concerned, the policy should be pro-cake, pro-advertising it… 

mdi-tag-outline IEA Nanny State
mdi-account-multiple-outline Boris Johnson Christopher Snowdon
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